Outlook for firms picks up: survey

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 1999, 12:00am

The economic outlook for companies has improved marginally, but concern remains about business prospects in the first half.

Of the 156 leading companies who responded to the second SCMP/Nomura Business Barometer in December, 18.7 per cent expected the business environment to improve, compared with 12 per cent in the inaugural survey in October.

The number of companies anticipating a deterioration in the economy fell from 50 per cent to 38 per cent.

Most bullish were listed companies, particularly property and banking and finance firms, while sentiment was more subdued among private and multinational companies.

While the figures revealed an improvement in sentiment, Nomura's economic research head, Kevin Chan, described the findings as 'better but still negative'.