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The business confidence among the Asian firms improved the most in the fourth quarter of 2020 amid coronavirus vaccine rollout and pick up in business activity globally, the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD survey released on Wednesday showed.

Antonio Fatas, Singapore-based economics professor at global business school INSEAD, said: “There’s a sense of optimism going forward. Things are getting better but they are getting better with still a dose of uncertainty. The effect of the crisis is very different across sectors.”

Key findings

“The outlook for Asian companies in the next six months tracked by the Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asian Business Sentiment Index jumped to 62 this quarter from 53 in the third quarter.”

“The latest number according to the survey of 101 firms across 11 Asia-Pacific countries was the highest since the fourth quarter of 2019.”

“A quarter of the companies in the survey, which was conducted between Dec. 4-18, were most concerned about businesses cutting jobs, which would hurt consumption.”

“Yet others flagged as their top risks a withdrawal of stimulus by central banks, and newly elected United States President Joe Biden keeping a tough line on China.”