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Hiring time, not firing time

Hiring time, not firing time

Small businesses across the world, in particular the Middle East, are feeling confident, it seems, and their plans to hire and invest should dampen talk of a double-dip.

July 21, 2010 2:41 by

Many small businesses around the world, especially in Turkey and the Middle East, plan to boost investment and hiring, a survey showed on Wednesday, at a time when the global outlook is increasingly uncertain.

An index of confidence at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 21 markets rose to 118 in the second quarter from 111 in the fourth quarter of 2009, HSBC’s semi-annual global small business confidence monitor showed.

Emerging markets remained more confident than advanced markets, though confidence measures in developed markets rose sharply since the end of 2009.

The survey results suggest fears about a double dip in the global economy that have been dogging financial markets may be overstated, especially since SMEs comprise 95 percent of firms in OECD economies and employ two thirds of private sector workers.

The confidence index for Turkey rose to 138, from 117 in the fourth quarter of 2009, and the North America index climbed to 119 from 107. However, in a slightly worrying sign, the index for India fell to 121 from 132, driven by an 18 percentage point drop in the share of SMEs that planned to increase investment.

Greater China’s SME confidence stayed flat at 121. All Asian indexes were in positive territory of above 100 for the first time since the financial crisis.

Also, 41 percent of SMEs say they plan to increase capital spending, up four percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2009, while 26 percent of SMEs say they are planning to hire.

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