New research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), a quarterly survey of 2,500+ business leaders in 36 economies, reveals the extent to which contagion caused by China’s economic slowdown is spreading to businesses around the world.

In China, optimism slipped 20 percentage points to net 26% in Q3-2015. The falls recorded in other economies are equally as striking. Many of China’s top trading partners including Germany (down 46pp to 46%), Japan (down 36pp to -28%), Australia (down 15pp to 39%) and the ASEAN nations (down 22pp to 18%) all report sharp dips in optimism. The global figure dropped 7pp to net 38%.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton, said:
“The slowdown in China is a major concern for the global economy at a time of stuttering growth and heightened uncertainty. The past three months have shown how reliant global growth has become on China – 20 years ago it was the top export destination for just two countries. Today that figure is 43.

The IBR reveals that business growth prospects in major trading partners have also been hit. The proportion of ASEAN businesses expecting to increase revenues over in the next 12 months has fallen 21pp to 31%. And expectations for increasing exports have dropped to 0%.

In Germany, where China accounts for 6.5% of exports, both revenue (down 42pp) and exports (down 7pp) have been hit sharply as orders – particularly of machinery – have slowed this year. Australia, which counts on China for a third of export earnings, has seen export expectations slide further to just 5%, down 9pp from Q2. Japan and Brazil have also seen revenue prospects contract.

The depreciation of the yuan does seem to have improved export hopes of Chinese businesses (up 5pp to 14%). However this has also made imports to China more expensive with businesses in Brazil (up 9pp to 47%) and Russia (up 9% to 83%) increasingly concerned about the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on their ability to grow.

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