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Mercredi 18 Février 2015

YPO: EU business confidence improves over fourth quarter

Lower oil prices and a weaker euro provided fresh optimism in the European Union over the fourth quarter of 2014. The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for the EU rose 1.2 points to 61.2, recovering some of the decline in the previous quarter. Despite the uptick, EU confidence sits slightly below its apex of 62.5 attained in July 2014 and below the global composite index of 62.5.

YPO: EU business confidence improves over fourth quarter
“Business leaders in the eurozone expect to derive some benefit over the short term from lower commodities prices and a devalued currency,” said Anastasios Economou, managing director of iGroup and a member of YPO’s European regional board. “At the same time, they have not lost sight of the systemic challenges facing the region that must be dealt with before sustainable growth can be achieved.”

Globally, confidence increases in net oil-importing economies largely compensated for the weakened optimism in oil exporters, leaving the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index only 0.7 point off its October 2014 reading at a still-optimistic 62.5. Canada was the biggest mover, losing nearly 7 points to land at 59.0, its lowest level since July 2013. The United States, by contrast, edged up 0.8 point to 65.0, the highest reading among the nine regions tracked by the survey. Asia slipped 3.3 points to 62.2, its lowest level in over a year, on the back of tapering growth in China. Non-EU Europe registered the world’s lowest reading at 54.3, weighed down by Russia, whose index plunged to the dismal 30s.

Key findings in the EU
Hiring confidence at historical high: Hiring expectations were a bright spot in the January survey. The YPO Global Pulse Employment Confidence Index for Europe attained a level of 58.7, the highest in the 5.5-year history of the survey. Thirty-seven percent of CEOs surveyed indicated they would hire new workers in the next 12 months, up from 30% who said so three months prior. Small companies (fewer than 100 employees) were most likely to hire, with more than half (53%) saying they would add to headcounts. By sector, service providers had the most ambitious hiring plans, with 41% expecting to take on more staff.

Varying confidence movements at the country level: Sentiment among business leaders in most EU member states improved over the fourth quarter. The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for Germany recovered most of the ground lost over the third quarter, rebounding by more than 4 points to 58.2. Austria followed suit, recovering 4.3 of the 5 points lost previously to land at 56.5. The indices for Spain and Romania also gained more than 4 points each over the fourth quarter, to 66.2 and 61.9, respectively.

In contrast, confidence fell back to its July 2014 level in the Netherlands on lower natural gas export revenues. Its index now sits at a still-optimistic 63.1. France’s index returned to its habitually anaemic level near the neutral point on the confidence scale, dipping to 52.1. Business sentiment in Greece slumped for the second consecutive quarter, to a feeble 50.7, on the eve of its legislative election.

YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index
The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of January, gathered answers from 2,790 chief executive officers across the globe, including 396 in the European Union.
Visit for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world.

About YPO
YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 22,000 peers and their families in more than 125 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialised networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues.

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