Increased caution after a positive year-end
Deloitte Belgian CFO Survey Q1-2011
Following the buoyant mood in which CFOs entered 2011, the first quarter survey now reports a decline in the CFOs’ optimism about the financial prospects for their own company: up to 20% of the surveyed CFOs are less optimistic now, compared to 3 months ago. With this, the overall level of optimism remains strong, but is back at the level of the beginning of 2010. The increase in caution coincides with the increased global political and economic uncertainty in the first quarter.
In this context, the economic scenario of a “double dip” surfaces again: more than 20% of the CFOs now assign likelihood to a period of several months in which the Belgian economy would contract again, up from only 6% in the second half of 2010.
The increased caution is also perceptible in the increase of the percentage of surveyed CFOs reporting an expected decline in cash flow, from less than 10% in the previous quarter to almost 20% now.
But overall, the mood is cautious but far from negative. CFOs’ believe in the further recovery of the economy remains strong. Half of the respondents reported demand for their products and services had already accelerated in the second semester of 2010. 25% expect the acceleration will occur this year.