The Good News: American CFOs are more positive about the U.S. economy now than they were in June.
The Bad News: Most CFOs still think the economy sucks…and that’s its getting worse.
Compared with the previous quarter, 28.5 per cent [of surveyed CFOs] said they were more optimistic about the U.S. economy, up more than 7 percentage points from June, according to the Duke University/CFO Magazine survey of about 1,300 CFOs, including 524 from the United States.
Those saying they are less optimistic fell to 41.5 per cent, from more than half in the previous survey and more than 72 per cent in March. About half expect the U.S. economy to begin recovering by the middle of 2009.
So, while the sentiment is clearly more positive than in June, the majority of CFOs are still betting that the economy will not bottom for at least a year. The primary reason for this slightly better outlook, moreover, is almost definitely the price of oil.
The months of May and June saw the “super-spike” that led to near $150 oil in early July. Now that oil has been treading steadily down since then, it’s no wonder people are more optimistic. But, personally, we’d like a less volatile reason to get excited. We wouldn’t be surprised if oil was $150 by the end of the year, nor would we be shocked it oil hit $80…because the global economy collapsed.
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