MANILA, Philippines - Filipino business leaders are the fourth "most optimistic" among their counterparts in the world as government efforts to cut red tape have borne fruit, making it easier for investors to do business in the country.
The latest Grant Thornton International Business Report for the first quarter of 2012 showed that business optimism in the Philippines was high, beating even the world's biggest economies, the United States and China.
The survey results revealed that 82% of Filipino respondents were upbeat about their prospects and the economy in the next 12 months.
The figure was the fourth highest next to Peru (90%), Brazil (86%) and United Arab Emirates (84%).
Following the Philippines were Georgia (78%), India (74%), Chile (68%), Germany (64%), Mexico (62%) and Turkey (60%).
In the US and China, 46% and 23%, respectively, were optimistic.
Filipino business leaders cited mostly the improvement in regulations and reduction in red tape for their positive sentiment in the first quarter, with only 22% of respondents saying it was still a hindrance, compared to 32% in the previous quarter.
"There is good news in that the outlook of many businesses has improved over the past three months. But global growth prospects remain delicately balanced. The comparison with this time last year shows how difficult the last 12 months have been, and how much further we have to go," said Ed Nusbaum, CEO of Grant Thornton International, in a statement.
The survey showed developing economies are more optimistic, with the ASEAN average rising from 0% to 27%.
"Signs of improvement in mature economies are clearly having a knock-on effect in emerging markets... For me, the key takeaway from these results is that both emerging and mature markets seem to be pulling in the same direction, which can only bode well for the global recovery," Nusbaum said.