Business confidence and outlook among European businesses in Vietnam have been stabilised and shown a modest increase after a steep 11 point drop in the last quarter of 2011.

The results were released by the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) on Feb. 1.

Concerns about the current business situation and outlook appear to have eased slightly among EuroCham member companies that participated in the survey. However, their business outlook and assessment of the current situation remains sombre, the EuroCham said.

Forty percent of the businesses that participated in the survey engage in the services industry, about a quarter in manufacturing and trading and the rest in other activities.

Of the surveyed businesses, 38 percent considered their current business situation ‘neutral’ and 36 percent described it as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

The number of respondents having a negative view on their current situation has remained nearly unchanged since last quarter, but at 26 percent, it is 14 percentage points higher than a year ago.

Although inflation remains a major concern for businesses, only 8 percent of the respondents said that inflation was actually threatening their business in the country.

EuroCham Chairman Alain Cany commented on the survey “The slight increase of the EuroCham Business Climate Index at 56 points shows a halt in the downward trend in business confidence we have seen in 2011. However, the business confidence is still far below last year’s level. This shows that uncertainty amongst investors remains.”

EuroCham Executive Director Matthias Dühn said that the European debt crisis has added to investors uncertainty and impacted European investment in Vietnam.

European investors are increasingly looking for alternative investment destinations in ASEAN. Therefore Vietnam has to increase its efforts to remain competitive in the region, he said./.