Trade & investment

Cautious optimism feeds business confidence, ICC Secretary General tells CNBC

  • 13 February 2013
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Speaking live on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange programme, ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier said that the cautious optimism signalled by experts responding to the ICC-Ifo world economic survey was a good harbinger of developments for 2013.

Jean-Guy Carrier spoke to CNBC about the findings of the ICC-Ifo World Economic Survey
Jean-Guy Carrier spoke to CNBC about the findings of the ICC-Ifo World Economic Survey

The survey findings, released today, revealed climate index improvements for the first quarter of 2013, following two consecutive years of decline.

“The lack of confidence that business has been feeling over the last couple of years has been one of the dampeners of the world economy,” said Mr Carrier. “One has to be extremely cautious but the optimism we are seeing emerge is something very welcome.”

Mr Carrier told CNBC anchor Ross Westgate that many businesses had been sitting on their investment and expansion plans because risk and volatility in the world economy had been too great.

Recent assurance from the EU that it would do whatever necessary to save the euro and the possibilities for more open trade between the EU and the US were among the factors Mr Carrier said were contributing to the sudden regain of confidence.

Stating that over the past 12 months there had been little evidence from governments that they would put into place, collectively or individually, measures which would permit improvements Mr Carrier said “There are now some very positive accelerators of confidence and therefore of business activity.”

According to Mr Carrier the spark of renewed investor confidence was evident even in countries who had experienced dire difficulties, like Spain. “They are tackling their circumstances, becoming a little more competitive and getting companies ready to invest.”

“All of this feeds the mood of confidence in business and is what is going to make it possible for business to envisage putting in place its investment plans,” Mr Carrier concluded.

The quarterly ICC-Ifo World Economic Survey polls over 1,100 economic experts, from business and academic institutions in over 115 countries, to assess current and expected economic developments in their respective regions.

Read more about the findings from the February ICC-Ifo World Economic Survey.

View Jean-Guy Carrier on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange.