The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from IMA? (Institute of Management Accountants) and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) found that global economic confidence is at its highest level in years, with strong growth since the start of 2017. Economic confidence is at its highest since the first GECS survey was issued assessing Q1 2009.

GECS is the largest regular economic survey of accountants around the world, in terms of both the number of respondents and the range of economic variables it monitors. You can read the full report here.

The new survey found that confidence in North America rebounded strongly in the first quarter of 2019, with 38% feeling more confident about the future, compared with just 26% who were less confident. Although confidence improved in both the U.S. and Canada, the recovery in Canada was especially marked and confidence there is now at a record level.

?The outlook for the global economy is as good as it has been for some time,? said Warner Johnston, head of ACCA USA. ?Recent tax cuts have provided a boost to confidence and will help to ensure that the economy grows by a decent 2.5 to 3% this year. With the economy doing well and the unemployment rate at a multi-year low, interest rates look set to rise. But with inflationary pressures relatively weak, rate increases are likely to be gradual.?

The report notes that the increase in confidence in the United States?at its highest level since Q1 2017?comes on the heels of significant tax cuts which should help boost consumption, increase wage growth, and prompt lower unemployment rates. Confidence also is high by historical standards, with the proportion of respondents feeling more confident about the future being 10 percentage points more than those less confident.

Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA, CFA, CAE, IMA vice president of research and policy, cautioned that the biggest risk to the overall outlook is the possibility of a trade war between the United States and China, given proposed measures, including tariffs, that could escalate tension and impact other regions globally. If this does not occur, the global economy likely would see another year of strong growth, estimated at 3.5% to 4%.

Fieldwork for the Q1 2019 GECS took place between March 1 and 14, 2019, and attracted 1,335 responses from ACCA and IMA members around the world, including more than 107 CFOs.

For more information on the Global Economic Conditions Surveys, visit IMA's website.