Business confidence has increased in the first quarter of 2013, according to the ACCA’s (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Global Economic Conditions Survey.

Out of 2,000 senior finance professionals surveyed, 24% reported increased business confidence, up 5% on late 2012, while the number reporting less confidence fell from 43% to 37%. There was also a 13% rise in respondents who believed the global economy was improving or about to do so, up to 43%.

Business confidence and optimism increased most in the Middle East, while Africa was the only region to see confidence fall. The drop in Africa is due in part to a high number of struggling small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organisations "who reported mounting pressures on cash-flow and new orders alongside dwindling business opportunities".

ACCA senior economic analyst Emmanouil Schizas said the global gains are "much larger than would be expected" but added any first quarter boost was likely to be "short lived" highlighting the likely knock of confidence in the EU being down the Cyprus bailout.

"It seems in many markets confidence is being fuelled by an expectation of economic improvement in the future, but it’s not clear, when looking at the fundamentals, where this is meant to come from. As a result, we believe this surge in confidence is likely to be short-lived," Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which partnered with the ACCA produce the report, vice president Raef Lawson said.

In the UK, confidence rose slightly in spite of worsening business capacity, which recorded a slight dip in Q1 2013. Confidence in Scotland has been rising since mid-2012, and at a higher rate than in the rest of the country.

Schizas said the UK’s loss of capacity may be due to falling business opportunities, but there is a "flat medium-term trend, "so capacity should stabilise."

Related link
ACCA/IMA: Global Economic Conditions Survey 2013