Confidence low

New survey assesses business outlook on the economy

A recent survey of the business sector has revealed that confidence in the Barbados economy has deteriorated dramatically within the past year.

What’s more, local firms are not expecting any immediate rise in their earnings or in the overall level of employment within the next three months to a year, based on the preliminary findings of the Business Outlook 2017 survey.

The quarterly survey, which is conducted by Abelian Consulting Services Inc., ranks the level of confidence in the economy on a scale from -60 and -100, which is considered “very low”, to 60 per cent and 100 per cent, which is considered high.

It shows that the level of confidence among businesses had declined significantly to minus eight per cent, compared to 15 per cent during the first quarter of last year.

Director and Chief Executive Officer of Abelian Consulting Ryan Straughn delivered the preliminary results on Wednesday during the Ernst & Young/Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) breakfast forum at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The economist said he believed the dramatic slip was due mainly to the recent disappointing reports on the economy, the lack of implementation of announced Government projects and “subsequent news that have been taking place”.

“Throughout 2016 there was a sense in the country among business executives that things would likely improve because you have a net positive view of where things were going in general. But now we have come to a situation where that now is minus eight per cent, which essentially is saying, at the moment in the private sector there are more people who think that overall things are not going to get much better,” explained Straughn.

He said back in 2015 firms appeared to generally have a positive view of the road ahead. However, he reported that since 2016 this had changed.

“So people are obviously slightly pessimistic about the immediate short term,” said Straughn, who is also a political candidate for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party.

“Today everybody is pretty much pessimistic about the next three months. They are even more pessimistic about the next six months and you can see that for the most part, a year out, it is the same level as the short term. So there is no expectation right now among the private sector that looking a year ahead, that things are going to be any better,” he stressed.

While in past surveys businesses strongly believed they would outperform the country’s economic performance, he said this was not the case this time around.

“For the first time now we are seeing it is at its lowest since we started looking at this. So fewer executives believe now in their own ability to withstand the current situation as it relates to the foreign exchange crisis or the Government’s debt problem. The private sector ability now to control its own fate is now being dampened by Government activity,” he explained while warning of the need for change.

10 Responses to Confidence low

  1. Hal Austin February 24, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Is this a BLP policy document or Mr Straughn acting in his professional capacity?

  2. Zeus February 24, 2017 at 7:06 am

    BT I see that you now have an official joke section …..this article really got to be a joke ……..this reminds me of a certain person calling himself a political consultant /independent pollster …….Ryan Straughn carrying out a survey lolololololol

  3. Peter February 24, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Zeus. Obviously you ain’t got no money nor investments anywhere . You down in the yard waiting fuh somebody to throw you some scratch grain.

    • Jennifer February 24, 2017 at 10:57 am

      hahahahaha scratch grain.

  4. Zeus February 24, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Scratch grain….. Can’t tell you when last I saw that…. but your reaction to my comment like it hit a nerve…. What does my money or business have to do with an employee like you

    • Peter February 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks for your response. Clearly I cannot rear chickens nor fowls. My friend, you quite clearly showed that an investor nor business owner you are not. If indeed you are either or both, I misjudged you. Yes I am an employee. well kind of. I am associated in a senior management capacity of Vice President of Business Development for a well established multi billion dollar investment syndicate with offices in Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan Netherlands and a few others. I don’t mean to be boastful. But I am responsible for the entire Caribbean and Central America. My renumeration is in US dollars and in three separate offshore bank accounts through the Global Clearing system. Thanks again.

  5. Joan Worrell February 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

    @ Hal, these people are textbook economists. What do you expect? Owen Arthur is no fan of mine but when he addresses similar groups, he offers alternatives. Straughn and company can tell you what the problem is from an academic perspective but they are at sea when it comes to offering viable alternatives or solutions. I read in another section of the press where you offered solutions including the discontinuation of the Defense Force. I know you were playing the part of the devil’s advocate but you highlighted an are where there is massive wastage . It sounds fine for Straughn and company addressing 100 intellectuals but what percentage of the voting public do they make up? The man in the street wants to hear some solutions e.g privatize the transport board, privatize the airport, privatize the seaport, sell the hotels which Government own etc etc. I may not be in agreement with these suggestions but if they can show how the economy can turn around with these measures, Bajans would run with suggestions and vote for them. Marches and rubbing shoulders and town-hall meetings and walk-throughs with no alternative suggestions will get them no way. God Help the Straughns , Holders, Gooding-Edghills, Nicholls, Caddles, Abrahams , Thorne’s etc. if they think that Bajans will vote for them just because the economy is in poor shape or because Freundel would’t talk.

    • Jennifer February 24, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Marches and rubbing shoulders and town-hall meetings and walk-throughs with no alternative suggestions will get them no way. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT MADAM

  6. Hal Austin February 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm


    I am not plying Devil’s advocate about the Defence Force. It should be scrapped immediately. But to secure the knowledge and training of the troops, they should be offered a choice of the Coastguard or Police.
    Otherwise we need widespread privatisation. You are right. Why should a government have a portfolio of hotels?

  7. Tony Webster February 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    The head that wears the crown, oft sleeps un-easily. Better to have a handy balance/ alternative physical force, instead of placing all the law-enforcement in the hands of the C.O.P….you know, all the eggs in one basket.

    Having said that, there is much more the B.D.F. could do, in terms of getting involved in specific projects, as they have a huge skill capacity: like working with established N.G.O.’s . Anything the B.D.F. puts its hands to is accomplished with alacrity, competence, timeliness, and perfection.

    Hmmm…come to think of it….using them to do such projects…would mek a LOT of government departments look poor-rally. Cancel that order.


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