Since the 2008 financial crisis there has been a nervousness in the business world about the state of the global economy. Every statistic related to jobs, commodity prices, interest rates and GDP growth has been poured over to try and figure out whether the global economy has emerged from the gloom or is still languishing in the doldrums.
You only need to have a read through a few previous issues of the Procurement Leaders magazine to get a sense of this nervousness from market analysts.
In Issue 57 (July/August), as fears rose of a Greek exit from the euro and a UK exit from the European Union (EU), Peter O’Flanagan, head of trading at Clear Treasury, said Europe was still struggling "for any meaningful growth" while inflation remained "just above record lows" and unemployment figures stood "just below record highs".
In Issue 58, meanwhile, the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies were brought into focus and Phil Thornton, lead consultant at Clarity Economics, said although the BRIC economies posted economic growth of 2.4% in 2009, they were now "starting to look a little weather-beaten".
Thornton pointed to figures from the International Monetary Fund, which suggested these economies would grow by 2.34% compared with 2.36% among advanced economies – the first time, he said, the BRIC’s will have come second in a very long time.
While analysts may have painted a somewhat bleak picture, procurement executives – those with their ears to the ground – have been somewhat more confident.
More than one-quarter (26%) of respondents to a recent poll said that they were confident in the growth prospects of the global economy, while a further 3% said they were very confident.
Of course, some remain worried. More than one-third (35%) said they were concerned, while 9% said they were very concerned – perhaps a consequence of the doom and gloom suggested by analysts.
Despite these concerns though, it is encouraging to see a level confidence creep back into the business world, especially from those who spend the money and speak on a daily basis to a variety of companies across a number of different markets.