Financial experts: Cautiously optimistic on economy, but wary of costs

Global growth shows signs of improvement, but risks remain

20 Apr 2024 06:03pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo 123RF
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo 123RF

KUALA LUMPUR - Finance professionals in Malaysia are cautiously optimistic about the country's economic outlook, according to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

In a statement, ACCA Maritime Southeast Asia portfolio head Andrew Lim said, nevertheless, concerns over operational costs and external factors warrant a prudent approach by financial organisations and businesses.

"Navigating through these uncertainties will require astute management and strategic decision-making to sustain the economic momentum in the country," he said.

Meanwhile, the latest ACCA and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) showed that accountants and finance professionals are more confident in the global economy than they have been since the second quarter (2Q) of 2023.

Encouragingly, there were gains in confidence in most regions, according to the report.

It said the rise in Asia Pacific was the third largest on record and may reflect growing confidence in the resilience of the United States (US) economy, signs of improvement in the Chinese data and wider global economy, and rising optimism that Japan may finally be exiting from its decades-long battle against deflation.

"The moderate rise in confidence in Western Europe also suggests that growth may be gradually improving from the weakness of recent quarters.

"On a less positive note, global concerns about increased operating costs rose, although they remain below their 3Q 2022 peak," ACCA said.

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ACCA chief economist Jonathan Ashworth said the survey pointed to some improvement in global growth.

"Nevertheless, while encouraging, it is not yet time to celebrate, with the global economy facing many risks and challenges and still set for below-average growth in 2024.

"Moreover, the elevated level of concern about costs suggests that the major central banks should proceed very cautiously with any monetary easing," he said. - BERNAMA