Despite many gloomy forecasts for the economy in 2013, local entrepreneurs are no longer pessimistic and are well prepared to cope with any future storm, according to a survey of top companies in the country.

For the first time since early 2011, optimistic businesspeople have outnumbered pessimistic ones, shows findings of a survey conducted by Vietnam Report in January among leaders of the top 500 companies in Vietnam, with 225 survey sheets collected. Having on hand their preliminary business results, the macroeconomic indicators for 2012 and the plans for 2013, over 62 percent of the respondents expected their revenue would increase this year. Meanwhile, less than 15 percent of those surveyed worried that their revenue would decline. More than half of respondents planned to hire more employees in 2013, which is also a good sign, the report remarks. If their recruitment plans were implemented, the number of jobless labourers would be reduced and the social security burden would be eased. This is a monumental change compared to the last survey in November, with up to 75 percent of the respondents predicting their business situation would remain bleak or worsen with only 25 percent believing in better business in 2013.Four consecutive surveys since mid-2011 have recorded a pessimistic mentality of entrepreneurs at the country’s largest enterprises. According to the latest survey, business owners considered inflation, global economic volatility, changes in macroeconomic policies of the government and higher input costs as the major factors likely to affect their business performance. Other factors such as the ability to protect intellectual property and customer data, the speed of technological innovation or changes in consumer behavior were predicted to not greatly impact business activities this year. The main reason for this attitude transformation of the business community lies in the relative macroeconomic stability in 2012. Although economic growth and demand remained low, the policy environment and the business environment seemed more predictable. In addition, many large enterprises in Vietnam, having gone through so many difficulties and crises in the past two years, drew up contingency plans to deal with the possibility of a worsening economic situation in the next few years.“This suggests the government should resolutely continue to place macroeconomic stability on priority, boost economic restructuring and improve investment efficiency,” says the report.“Hasty moves with an aim to rescue this market or that market, or an increase of public investment to stimulate economic growth, accompanied by a risk of macroeconomic instability and rising inflation, will be a bitter medicine for the rekindled confidence of the business community.

 Source: Saigon Times Daily

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