Economic confidence is at its highest level since 2009 according to the latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

GECS is an economic survey of accountants around the world and released its first assessment in Q1 of 2009.

The latest survey, conducted between 27 February and 15 March 2018 found confidence in North America rebounded in Q1 of 2018, with 38% of the 1,418 respondents feeling more confident about the future, compared with 26% who were less confident.

The optimism for the US economy matches the country’s GDP data, which shows the economy is performing strongly.

Asia Pacific improved in Q1 and is currently at its second highest level. However, the region’s largest economy, China, fell again for a second successive quarter.

IMA vice president of research and policy Raef Lawson said: “Since the start of the year, policymaking in the U.S. has taken a more protectionist turn, causing concern about a possible trade war with China.

“It is possible that this response by China could escalate the crisis as the U.S. government is no longer willing to abide large imbalances in trade caused by unfair trade policies.”

Economic confidence fell in Central and Eastern Europe, which brings it to the lowest level since the third quarter of 2015. This was in part due to a sharp fall in confidence about the Russian economy which is currently at its lowest level since Q4 2015.

Western Europe saw a bounce-back in its confidence levels, bringing it to its highest point in a year. This is consistent with strong performance of the Eurozone, in particular Germany.

Economic confidence grew in Africa and reached its highest level since the GECS began. The growing confidence reflects the improved outlook on two of the region’s largest economies; Nigeria and South Africa.

Growth is expected in Nigeria due to an increase in oil production alongside rising oil prices. The positive outlook in South Africa is likely due to the resignation of Jacob Zuma as president in February and his replacement, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is seeking more investment in the country.