Business optimism falls in first quarter

optimism and company performance have both slumped during the first quarter of
2003, new research shows.

findings are revealed in the latest Institute of Directors’ (IOD) Business
Opinion Survey, which is based on answers from 500 leading company directors.

to the poll, the balance of companies that were more positive about business
prospects has crashed to -6 per cent, compared to 15 per cent in December and
40 per cent 12 months ago.

pressures also remained weak, with more respondents reporting increased costs
(a balance of 31 per cent) than increased prices (-3 per cent), which is
putting a squeeze on margins.

By Ross Wigham

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