Sri Lankan business leaders optimistic, plan capital investments

ECONOMYNEXT – Chief executives and equivalent leaders of Sri Lankan companies have expressed optimism about the business climate in the next 12 months with most saying they plan big capital investments, a new survey has found.

Almost three-quarters of business leaders say they were positive or very positive about local business conditions in the coming 12 months, according to the first CEO Survey on Sri Lanka by the Oxford Business Group, an economic research firm.

“Following the severe floods and drought that weighed on growth in 2017, C-suite executives appear to be generally optimistic that clearer skies are ahead,” it said.

Additionally, 56% predicted economic growth to range 4-5% for 2018, which is broadly in line with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s prediction of 5-5.5% and the Asian Development Bank’s forecast of 5%.

“Not only that, but our respondents seem prepared to put their money where their mouth is: almost 75% said their firms were likely to make a significant capital investment in 2018.”

The OBG compared the Sri Lankan sentiment with that of Myanmarr, saying it is markedly higher than the corresponding 60% in the Myanmar survey published last month, despite Myanmar’s GDP growth outpacing Sri Lanka’s in recent years, albeit from a lower base.

However, OBG noted that the chief executives were surveyed before the February 2018 local elections, in which the governing parties suffered significant losses, prompting the governor of the central bank to warn that political uncertainty could impact growth if not resolved.

The OBG survey has been designed to assess business sentiment among private company leaders (Chief Executives or equivalent) and their outlook for the next 12 months.

The OBG Business Barometer is conducted by OBG staff on a face-to-face basis, across the full range of industries, company sizes and functional specialties with 34% of companies surveyed being international.
(COLOMBO, February 28, 2018)





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