European Business Prospects Positive Despite Brexit -Surveys

By Euan Conley Features Dow Jones Newswires

Europe's business outlook is upbeat despite uncertainty around Brexit, according to two surveys of investors and chief executives.

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Chief executives of major European companies are confident about business prospects, with 79% saying they feel "positive" or "somewhat positive" about the business outlook. In a survey conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research for the European Round Table of Industrialists, or ERT, a majority of business leaders said they expected an increase in their companies' sales over the next six months.

They expressed concern on Brexit and said an effective transition period was necessary to provide certainty. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the European Union in March 2019 but negotiations have snagged on issues that must be resolved before the EU will discuss economic relations.

"Businesses will soon be actively planning for 2019 and both EU and UK businesses need a predictable pathway within the next three months if investment decisions are not to be materially impacted," the ERT said.

Meanwhile, an Ipsos Mori poll of 360 investors from companies in France, Germany, China, the U.S. and U.K. found that 60% believe investment in Europe will rise over the next five years.

Most bullish on the region were investors in China and the U.S., with 90% of Chinese investors and almost three-quarters of their U.S. counterparts predicting a boost. German investors were most pessimistic: Less than a third surveyed said they thought European investment would rise, compared with 38% who disagreed.

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Ipsos Mori found the appetite for international investment undiminished, with almost three-fifths of Chinese investors saying they were more likely to invest in the U.K. due to Brexit. Just over half of French investors said they were less likely to invest in the U.K., while the figure in Germany was 55%.

Ipsos Mori's poll was commissioned by Invest Europe, a trade association.

Write to Euan Conley at euan.conley@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 20, 2017 04:50 ET (09:50 GMT)