• Service: Advisory
  • Type: Press release
  • Date: 3/28/2011

Pulse - KPMG Global Business Outlook Survey: Spring 2011 - Prospects for full global economic recovery rebound strongly 

KPMG’s Pulse survey shows optimism surging back after brief dip previously. But events in Japan, Middle East and North Africa are not factored in.
After a dip in confidence four months ago which raised doubts over the sustainability of the global economic recovery, optimism again appears to be back in fashion across virtually all key markets.


The latest edition of Pulse – the Global Business Outlook survey from KPMG International - reveals that global business optimism around several key indicators now stands at the highest levels ever recorded by the survey.


The Spring 2011 Pulse survey, compiled by research firm Markit Economics on behalf of KPMG International, also shows that confidence across Europe and the US finally appears to be approaching parity with their BRIC counterparts.


In the Winter 2010 Pulse survey, falls of between six and ten points were recorded across many key indicators such as activity, revenues and new orders. Many of those losses have now been recouped. For example, in the services sector, 55 percent of respondents predict an improvement in business activity in the next year. Just eight percent predict a decline; creating a net balance of +47, up from +36 last time around. Similarly strong – and improving - net balances were also recorded against new orders (+42), revenues (+39), profits (+35) and even employment (+19), which has typically lagged all other indicators throughout the recession.


The story is even more promising in the manufacturing sector with four of the top five indicators all recording record highs since the Pulse survey became global in October 2009. Net balances for business activity and new orders both passed the +50 mark, with revenues not far behind at +49. Employment optimism also hit its record mark at +25. At +36, optimism around increased profits may not be at a survey-high point but this figure still represents a nine point improvement from Winter 2010.


Commenting on the latest survey findings, Alan Buckle, Global Head of Advisory at KPMG, said: “I think the most encouraging aspect of these numbers is that the recovery is worldwide. However, while the survey takes some account of events in North Africa and the Middle East, we have yet to see the impact of the tragic events in Japan. The global figures look strong but the US numbers have also rebounded to the levels of last summer while the European numbers have surged even further ahead than that. China and the other high growth economies are no longer alone to blaze the recovery trail. As long as that was the case, the economic recovery always felt somewhat fragile as it lacked wholesale support from the world’s two biggest economic blocs. With Europe and the US now appearing to be properly on board, the recovery feels more robust. However we need to see what the impact is of global events – particularly in Japan.”


Unsurprisingly, some problems still remain with inflation appearing to be a key hindrance. In manufacturing for example, belief that input prices will rise in the coming year stands at +47. This is up 17 points from Winter 2010 as increasing commodity prices make their presence felt. Belief that such rises can be passed on via higher output costs is also up 13 points but this still only results in a net balance of +31.


Within the service sector, the trend is the same although the numbers are slightly more muted. The net balance of those expecting input prices to increase rose from +21 to +24 whereas the net balance of respondents expecting to be able to charge higher prices stands at just +15.


Alan Buckle continued: “Prior to recent events in Japan the main dampeners of optimism were the problems of rising commodity prices, the fear of inflation and the need to still bring deficits under control. However, I get more of a feel now that companies are prepared to simply get on and deal with such things. Let’s hope that for business as well as human reasons, events in Japan are quickly under control and this confident survey isn’t invalidated.”


For fuller details on the Pulse survey, click here.

Media enquiries

Please contact:

Julie Wilson

+1 416 777-3460

About the survey

Pulse - the Global Business Outlook Survey for worldwide manufacturing and services - is produced by Markit Economics on behalf of KPMG and is based on a survey of around 11,000 manufacturers and service providers that are asked to give their thoughts on future business conditions. The reports are produced on a tri-annual basis, with data collected in February, June and October.


The countries covered by the survey are the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Austria*, the Netherlands*, Greece*, the Czech Republic*, Poland*, Brazil, Russia, India and China. (*Manufacturing only)


Interest in the use of economic surveys for predicting turning points in economic cycles is ever increasing and KPMG’s Pulse survey uses an identical methodology across all nations covered. It gives a unique perspective on future business conditions from Global manufacturers and service providers.


The methodology of KPMG’s Pulse survey is identical in all countries that Markit Economics operates. This methodology seeks to ensure harmonisation of data, and is designed to allow direct comparisons of business expectations across different countries. This provides a significant advantage for economic surveillance around the globe and for monitoring the evolution of the manufacturing and services economies by governments and the wider business community.


Data collection is undertaken via the completion of questionnaires three times a year at four-month intervals. A combination of phone, fax, website and email are used, with respondents allowed to select which mechanism they prefer to use.


KPMG’s Pulse survey uses net balances to indicate the degree of future optimism or pessimism for each of the survey variables. These net balances vary between -100 and 100, with a value of 0.0 signalling a neutral outlook for the coming twelve months. Values above 0.0 indicate optimism amongst companies regarding the outlook for the coming twelve months while values below 0.0 indicate pessimism. The net balance figure is calculated by deducting the percentage number of survey respondents expecting a deterioration/decrease in a variable over the next twelve months from the percentage number of survey respondents expecting an improvement/increase.


Questionnaires are sent to a representative panel of around 11,000 manufacturing and services companies spread across the global economy in the countries mentioned above. Companies are carefully selected to ensure that the survey panel accurately reflects the true structure of each economy in terms of sectoral contribution to GDP, regional distribution and company size. This panel forms the basis for the Pulse survey. The current report is based on responses from around 6,200 firms.

Notes to editors

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 150 countries and have 138,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


KPMG International performs no professional services for clients nor, concomitantly, generates any revenue.


Markit is a leading, global financial information services company with over 2,000 employees. The company provides independent data, valuations and trade processing across all asset classes in order to enhance transparency, reduce risk and improve operational efficiency. Its client base includes the most significant institutional participants in the financial market place. For more information, see


Markit Economics is a specialist compiler of business surveys and economic indices, including the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) series, which is now available for 26 countries and key regions including the Euro zone and BRIC. The PMIs have become the most closely watched business surveys in the world, favoured by central banks, financial markets and business decision-makers for their ability to provide up-to-date, accurate and often unique monthly indicators of economic trends.


Contact us

Contact us
  • Click here to send us an email
  • View the survey here