The sentiment of Canadian chief financial officers of middle-market companies on the state of their own industry and the strength of the national economy remained steady and positive in the third quarter, according to the latest GE Capital Mid-Market CFO Survey. CFOs’ view of the world economy was unchanged and remains less optimistic than about the national economy.
More than one-third (38%) of CFOs think the national economy will grow over the next 12 months. Nearly half (48%) think it will stay the same, although that’s down three percentage points since the last survey in this series, which was conducted in the first quarter of 2012.
The survey, which was conducted during the third quarter of 2012, included responses from 203 CFOs of companies with average revenues of $163.3 million operating across five distinct industries including: Energy; food, beverage and agribusiness; metals, mining and metals fabrication; retail; and transportation.
CFOs’ top two immediate concerns are the potential impact of European fiscal conditions and the American economy, although worries about the latter declined by five percentage points since the first quarter. Concerns about unemployment, oil prices and credit market liquidity also increased. In a similar GE Capital survey conducted in the U.S. during the same time period, unemployment is the top concern, followed by the U.S. budget deficit and European fiscal conditions.
Over the next 12 months, Canadian CFOs expect labor costs to have the greatest impact on business performance, followed by costs for energy (including oil and gas) and materials, supplies and equipment. Concerns about the European economic slowdown increased the most, while concerns about the strength of the Canadian dollar decreased the most.
“Our survey shows that, despite a range of domestic and international concerns, Canadian CFOs still expect company growth over the next 12 months, which is very good news,” said Katherine Lee, president and CEO of GE Capital’s commercial lending and leasing business in Canada. “We stand ready to help them expand their businesses, whether that means growing into new geographies, taking advantage of merger and acquisition opportunities or acquiring new equipment.”
For additional survey findings, click here.