Martin Stabe Is France ‘unfriendly’ to business?

The latest data from the FT/Economist Business Barometer, the quarterly global business sentiment survey, was published last week and the business-friendliness section again made for interesting reading.

France’s “business friendliness” has plummeted since the last barometer survey, which was conducted before before the election of François Hollande as president. For the first time, more of the business executives surveyed by the EIU rated the country’s ”unfriendly” than “friendly” to business.

The proportion of respondents calling the Chinese government, “unfriendly” to business, meanwhile, has plummeted in just one quarter so that it is, for the first time, just about equal to the proportion describing it as “friendly”. One factor that could explain this are the  efforts the government has made to court foreign companies in response to falling FDI into China.

Unlike these volatile government-friendliness ratings, respondents’ biggest business concerns expressed by the respondents have remained remarkably stable over the 18 months that the survey has been conducted. The most recent poll highlighted growing concern about currency volatility and the availability of finance.

But explore the internal variation of this data (use the dropdown menus above the chart), and some subtle changes appear. For example, respondents in Asia and eastern Europe all show growing concern about the availability of finance whereas western Europeans and North Americans are more concerned about currency volatility.