Global Economic Confidence Strongest Since 2009

Stock Market

The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) released recently found that global economic confidence is at its highest level in years, with strong growth since the start of 2017.

Economic confidence is at its highest since the first GECS survey was issued assessing Q1 2009. GECS is the largest regular economic survey of accountants around the world, in terms of both the number of respondents and the range of economic variables it monitors.


The new survey found that confidence in North America rebounded strongly in the first quarter of 2018, with 38% feeling more confident about the future, compared with just 26% who were less confident. While confidence in China fell again for a second successive quarter, it is still at the fourth highest level since 2009.

‘The outlook for the global economy is as good as it has been for some time,’ said Narayanan Vaidyanathan, Head of Business Insights at ACCA. ‘The continued rising confidence, led by North America, is also benefitting other key trading economies such as Africa and South Asia. Despite the political uncertainties caused by Brexit, confidence in the UK and Western Europe also remains strong.’

Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and policy, cautioned that the biggest risk to the overall outlook is the possibility of a trade war between the United States and China, given proposed measures including tariffs, which could escalate tension and impact other regions globally. If this does not occur, the global economy likely would see another year of strong growth.

‘Since the start of the year, policymaking in the U.S. has taken a more protectionist turn, causing concern about a possible trade war with China,’ Lawson said, noting China’s recent announcement of counter-tariffs. ‘It is possible that this response by China could escalate the crisis as the U.S. government is no longer willing to abide large imbalances in trade cause by unfair trade policies.’

Fieldwork for the Q1 2018 GECS took place between 27 February and 15 March 2018 and attracted 1,418 responses from ACCA and IMA members around the world, including more than 100 CFOs.