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Economic slowdown poised to continue to dominate international business landscape

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Confidence remained especially weak in emerging economies. China's slowdown is affecting business confidence around the world and contributing to serious problems in other major emerging economies, especially those that rely on commodity exports, such as Brazil and Russia.

As the price of oil continues to tumble the producers that were relatively well prepared for a drop in energy prices, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are now facing weaker growth as governments turn their attention to repairing their finances. More than 60% of respondents in the region reported they had cut back on investment and employment. Businesses in OECD economies are more upbeat. Most advanced economies are net importers of energy and have benefitted from declines in oil prices.

The most significant improvement in business confidence was in the eurozone, where the risk of a near-term break-up of the currency area has faded into the distance after the latest Greek bailout.

Rising costs were still a problem, with 40% of businesses reporting concerns. While commodity prices have fallen, firms in many parts of the world, particularly Asia and Africa, are still having to deal with rapidly rising wages. 

Faye Chua, head of business insight at ACCA, said: "There is a troubling long list of risks developing for the majority of global businesses. Many are already, unsurprisingly, reacting to falling opportunities by scaling back on capital and employment investments, which will, in turn, contribute to the further slowdown of the global economy. Combined with the fact that many governments are having to cut back on spending, there are grounds for concern." 



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