Economic Confidence Among Finance Professionals Continues Rising in North America Despite Stalling Globally in Q2
The latest research from ACCA and IMA shows North American gains in the
new orders, capital expenditure, and employment indices, suggesting the U.S. economy
may continue to defy predictions of a recession
New York and Montvale, N.J., August 1, 2023 — Finance professionals’ economic confidence continued rising in North America through Q2 despite stalling globally, according to results of the latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants).
Sentiment at the global level remains around its long-term average, as do the key indices--new orders, Capital expenditure and employment--while those key indices rose in the North American market. In contrast, confidence fell sharply in Asia Pacific and export-sensitive Western Europe.
Published quarterly, GECS is the largest regular economic survey of accountants carried out globally. The full report is available at https://www.imanet.org/About-IMA/GECS.
The report explores how ongoing aggressive interest rate hikes by central banks, and China’s weaker than expected economic recovery, have likely weighed on confidence. Those effects are believed to be offsetting receding fears of a global banking crisis and falling inflation, leading to flat confidence across many markets.
The report shows no evidence that a global recession is on the cards. One surprising finding is that aggressive monetary tightening has not had a material impact on the GECS “fear’’ indices, which measure respondents' concerns that customers and/or suppliers may go out of business. Both these indices continue to improve, which suggests little concern about the impact of higher interest rates, recession risks, or the growing number of bankruptcies.
However, there may be a lagging effect of tighter monetary policy working its way through the global economy and financial system. Indices measuring global problems accessing finance and securing prompt payment both deteriorated in Q2, although neither looks particularly worrying yet by historical standards. Meanwhile, the percentage of global respondents concerned about increased costs declined slightly again, although it remains very elevated by historical standards, suggesting that central banks may have more work to do.
“The survey results aligned with my sense of how things are developing in the global economy, with some loss in momentum through Q2,” said Jonathan Ashworth, Chief Economist at ACCA. “Things don’t look particularly alarming though, and a global recession does not look imminent.”
He continued: “By region, things aren’t looking that great in Asia Pacific and Western Europe. Chinese policymakers may need to increase policy stimulus, while the ECB and BoE might want to tread carefully with monetary tightening. In contrast, the U.S. economy is looking pretty resilient, suggesting the Fed may be able to carry off the much talked about soft landing.”
Dr. Susie Duong, Director of Research at IMA, said: “Looking at the change in the GECS Confidence Indices over the year, one notable factor is the resilience of North America. With a stronger than expected growth of the U.S. economy in 2023 Q2, it suggests that an imminent recession for the U.S. does not seem likely this year, although Asia and Europe could increasingly become a drag if growth decelerates significantly there. The robustness of the global ‘fear’ indices is also unexpected. However, it’s less clear that will still be the case at the turn of the year.”
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants.
We’re a thriving global community of 241,000 members and 542,000 future members based in 178 countries and regions, who work across a wide range of sectors and industries. We uphold the highest professional and ethical values.
We offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. Our qualifications and learning opportunities develop strategic business leaders, forward-thinking professionals with the financial, business and digital expertise essential for the creation of sustainable organizations and flourishing societies.
Since 1904, being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. In December 2020, we made commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which we are measuring and will report on in our annual integrated report.
We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society and is vital in helping economies, organizations and individuals to grow and prosper. It does this by creating robust trusted financial and business management, combating corruption, ensuring organizations are managed ethically, driving sustainability, and providing rewarding career opportunities.
And through our cutting-edge research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing for the future. We’re a not-for-profit organization. Find out more at accaglobal.com
About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA® is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) programs, continuing education, networking, and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices.
Twice named Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, IMA has a global network of about 140,000 members in 150 countries and 350 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org.
The Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS), carried out jointly by ACCA and IMA, is the largest regular economic survey of accountants around the world, in both the number of respondents and the range of economic variables it monitors. The GECS has been conducted every quarter for over 10 years. Its main indices are good lead indicators of economic activity and provide a valuable insight into the views of finance professionals on key variables, such as investment, employment and costs. Fieldwork for the 2023 Q1 survey took place between 21 February and 7 March 2023 and gathered 802 responses: 382 from ACCA members and 420 from IMA members. ACCA and IMA would like to thank all members who took the time to respond to the survey. It is their first-hand insights into the fortunes of companies around the world that make GECS a trusted barometer for the global economy.