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Business Confidence Improves After Burst of Reforms, Business Today’s Business Confidence Survey Shows

October 15, 2012

NEW DELHI, October 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

* Seventh round of survey shows optimism tempered with caution over the implementation
of economic changes

* 47% of 500 Indian CEOs/CFOs surveyed foresee better prospects for their companies in
the next quarter (October-December)

* Half the survey respondents believe availability of finance will ease in the
October-December quarter

Respondents to Business Today’s Business Confidence Survey for the July-September
quarter say the new wave of reforms are encouraging. But they are not certain the
government can see them through, and most do not expect their businesses to be affected by
the reforms in the October-December quarter.

The survey finds that confidence levels among businesses have risen after several
months of despondency. If it were not for the opening up of multi-brand retail FDI, the
increase in diesel prices. and a cap on subsidised cooking gas, business confidence levels
would have been worse for the quarter ended September than for the previous quarter. The
survey found that businesses were slightly more upbeat about the next three months. On a
scale of 100, confidence levels are up to 52.4, from 49.3 in the April-June quarter.

                    July-Sept April-June Jan-March Oct-Dec Jul-Sep Apr-Jun Jan-Mar
                    2012      2012       2012      2011    2011    2011    2011
        Overall
        Business
        confidence
        index       52.4         49.3         55.4  52.3    56.8    64.4    74.8
        Business
        confidence
        index for
        Heavy
        Engineering 49.5         48.3         52.7  50.4    55.1    62.3    73.4
        Business
        confidence
        index for
        Light
        industry    51.9         48.7         53.2  51.8    56.3    64.1    74.5
        Business
        confidence
        index for
        Services    55.5         52.4         59.5  55.2    58.6    65.7    75.7

Business Today launched the survey in the January-March 2011 quarter. The survey has
quickly become a bellwether of business and economic sentiment. The first round had showed
that companies were enjoying pricing power, which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had
later said it would like to reduce through its policies as it was fuelling inflation.
Though the central bank has taken some measures to ease monetary policy, its hawkish
monetary stance continues with high borrowing rates kept high in an attempt to tame
inflation.

A senior engineering services executive said the low investment growth in the economy
was unlikely to change until interest costs were brought down. “At the current interest
rates, borrowing is not viable for large-scale projects,” M.S. Unnikrishnan, Managing
Director, Thermax told Business Today. “When the internal rate of return of infrastructure
projects is in the teens and interest rates are at 13 per cent, it’s not viable to make
investments.”

Still, half the survey respondents said they believed availability of finance will
ease up in the October-December quarter. The order book situation, respondents said,
remains weak with just 38 per cent saying they expected growth in the October-December
quarter and only about a quarter expecting better selling prices.

Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today Group, of which Business Today is a part,
said the recent reform measures announced by the government did not come a day too late
but would take time to translate into growth numbers in the economy. “Confidence in the
business community is clearly turning around as the Business Today Business Confidence
Survey shows,” Purie said. “What needs to be done next are specific government decisions
aimed at getting projects with big ticket investments off the ground. That’s a simple fix
and does not need parliamentary approval or anything remotely as big.”

        Editorial Contact:
        K. Sai Srinivas
        Deputy Editor, Business Today
        KSai.Srinivas@intoday.com

        Marketing Contact:
        Intekhab Aslam
        Brand Manager, Business Today
        Intekhab.aslam@intoday.com
        +91-99991-42393

SOURCE India Today Group


Source: PR Newswire