Canadian finance professionals grew more optimistic about the global economy in the first half of 2013 despite tightening domestic conditions, according to the Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

"Demand and cash-flow conditions continued to tighten in Canada in the first six months of the year, and access to growth capital appears to have become harder," said Emmanouil Schizas, ACCA senior economic analyst and editor of the GECS. "Despite these conditions, there is optimism emerging, especially for the wider, global economy. Canada's finance professionals are slightly more optimistic than they were this time a year ago, with 46 per cent believing the economy is recovering or about to do so, up from 42 per cent."

GECS is the largest economic survey of accountants in the world, gauging the views of ACCA and IMA finance professionals. This, the 18th edition of GECS, had 1,833 responses in the second quarter of 2013.

Confidence in the prospects for Canada's businesses stabilized. In the first half of the year, 33 per cent of respondents in Canada reported a loss of confidence in the prospects for their organizations, down from 39 per cent over the previous six months. Twenty per cent reported confidence gains, also down from 25 per cent in the previous six months.

"Canada's businesses are clearly looking forward to better days," said Suzanne Godbehere, Head of ACCA Canada. "What is holding Canadian business confidence up could be the reported recovery in capacity building, and the perceived rise in available investment opportunities."

The global picture

On a global scale, the GECS found that both business confidence and optimism about the economy continued to rise during the second quarter of the year.

Nearly half of the GECS sample (47 per cent) felt that the state of the economy was improving or about to do so, up from 43 per cent in early 2013, while just under 50 per cent were pessimistic, predicting deterioration or stagnation, down from 54 per cent in the first quarter. This is the highest level of optimism about national and global economies in two years, and the strongest year-on-year improvement in three years. The survey showed there was improved availability of growth capital on a global scale in the second quarter of 2013, which was helping to drive confidence upwards.

"Globally, this is not a recovery for everyone," said the ACCA's Schizas. "But for significant parts of the world it looks like the real thing. If this new found dynamism persists beyond a couple of quarters, it could build its own momentum, independent of monetary policy.

"This is quite encouraging – after a too-bullish first quarter, confidence is now back in line with the improving fundamentals. And while employment is recovering quickly and is now stronger than at any point in the last two years, the quality of jobs created has also improved since Q1, being more closely tied to demand and the financial health of customers.

"The marginal improvement in global business dynamism in early 2013 has now accelerated across all measures of investment, orders and employment."