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SMEs’ confidence increases

Small and medium-sized companies across the globe plan to increase capital expenditure (41 per cent), expand their workforces (26 per cent) and hold positive views about local economic growth (84 per cent), according to the HSBC Small Business Confidence Monitor.

Shaun Wallis, global head of business management, HSBC Commercial Banking, said: “Our research indicates confidence levels across the globe and particularly in the emerging markets are stable and are back to pre-financial crisis levels.

“While it may be tempting to argue emerging nations will be affected by the weakening Western economy, we think that there are three important channels that suggest the emerging markets will continue to grow.

“The first is related to trade. Emerging nations trade with each other and are, therefore, less exposed to the Western economy. The second is the low return on Western assets that will encourage investors to put more money into the emerging world. Driven by high commodity prices, the final point is the major redistribution of income from the Western markets into the emerging nations.”

The latest report is based on what’s said to be the largest international survey of its kind, covering more than 6,300 SMEs across 21 markets in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America and Latin America.

Most markets across the globe held a positive outlook, with Turkey leading at 138 points, followed by the Middle East (132), China (121), India (121), south-east Asia (119), North America (119), Latin America (118) and Europe (99).

Compared to the previous results in 4Q09, Turkey showed the biggest jump in confidence – up 21 points, followed by North America (up 12 points) and the Middle East (up seven points).

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