File picture: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Johannesburg - Grant Thornton’s International Business Report for the third quarter of 2016 yesterday revealed that South African business executives are 10 percent optimistic about the outlook of the country’s economy in the coming 12 months.

The group said while the percentage might reflect a very low sentiment, it was a complete shift from the one reported in the first quarter of the year in which businesses recorded an extremely pessimistic outlook by registering a negative 41 percent (-41 percent).

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“The +51 percent improvement in business optimism since then is certainly promising,” the report said.

Grant Thornton calculates business optimism by measuring the percentage of respondents who reported a positive outlook, less the percentage who reported a negative outlook for the year ahead. In the case of the third quarter the outlook has returned to a positive outlook for the first time in the past five quarters.

Grant Thornton South Africa chairman Deepak Nagar said despite the rocky political landscape in the country, the nation’s democracy was working.

“We believe this is the key reason why South African business executives seem to be more upbeat than they were earlier this year despite all the issues,” said Nagar.

Globally, the UK recorded a negative 19 percentage as Brexit unsettled the region.

Ed Nusbaum, global chief executive of Grant Thornton, said: “Political events like Brexit and the US presidential election understandably rattled the global economy and tested the resilience and elasticity of businesses worldwide. In general, businesses do not like uncertainty, and that is what is happening.”