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Signs of Optimism for Latin America: 53% of Executives Believe Business is Better Than a Year Ago
Press Release

MIAMI, FL - March 27, 2012 - According to the fifth edition of the UPS Business Monitor Latin America (BMLA), small and medium-sized business executives particularly those in Colombia, Chile, and Mexico are more confident today than they were a year ago.

The study, commissioned by UPS, surveyed more than 800 top-level executives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in seven countries of the region. The results revealed that half of the respondents believe their business is better today than a year ago, while 60 percent are confident that in 12 months their company will be better financially.

"The results from the latest BMLA study demonstrate that Latin American SMEs are looking forward to continuing to grow their businesses in 2012," said Romaine Seguin, president of UPS Americas Region. "There is a sense of optimism among executives from key markets such as Brazil and Colombia which illustrates signs of growth and improvement for the region. We see how businesses are investing first in their country and then outwards, which is very positive for the development of local economies."

As found in the study, nearly 63 percent of privately held business owners are optimistic about the region's economic performance. Colombia (68 percent) scored the highest level of optimism of any country surveyed followed by Chile (58 percent), and Mexico (54 percent).

Even though there is a very positive outlook for business growth, SME executives face some issues. While Brazilians ranked finding and retaining qualified employees as a main concern, Argentineans mentioned increase in labor costs as their top problem. Furthermore, Dominicans ranked increase in fuel and energy costs as their most worrisome challenge.  

"The optimism showed by SMEs across the region is a sign of maturity in Latin America," said Eduardo Gamarra, professor of Latin American and Caribbean politics at Florida International University. "South America, especially, feels much more autonomous economically and politically now than in the last couple of years."

Areas of investment

According to the BMLA, investment in marketing and sales is a top priority at a regional level. The survey also revealed that half of respondents plan on increasing personnel during the next 12 months, with executives from Brazil and Colombia as the top two countries, another testament to the level of confidence in these countries.

Construction, technology and business services were identified as the industries with greatest growth opportunity by surveyed executives in Latin America. However, when compared to results from the 2010 study, the opinion of construction and technology as sectors with more growth opportunity decreased by 5 and 15 percent respectively; while business services increased by 10 percent. 

Economic and political influences

With regard to which countries should influence the economic and political future of the region, Brazil is most favored by employers. However, when compared to results obtained prior to the 2008 crisis, the desire to follow Brazil, Mexico and the European Union models has decreased, while the study's ranking of the U.S. and China has increased.

Corporate social responsibility

As part of the companies' corporate social responsibility activities, it was found that SMEs in the region commit to environmental protection causes the most (34 percent), followed by donations to non-governmental organizations (21 percent) and support programs for communities (18 percent). Furthermore, executives would like to develop more Corporate Social Responsibility activities related to education and training and environmental protection (43 and 24 percent respectively).

For more information and materials on the BMLA, please visit: http://pressroom.ups.com/About+UPS/Business+Monitor/Business+Monitor+Latin+America

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including the transportation of packages and freight; the facilitation of international trade, and the deployment of advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the Web at UPS.com and its corporate blog can be found at blog.ups.com. To get UPS news direct, visit pressroom.ups.com/RSS.

About the UPS Business Monitor Latin America

The UPS Business Monitor Latin America (BMLA), now in its fifth edition, provides an outlook on the current opinions, attitudes and trends among the business leaders of the small and medium size companies (SMEs) in the Region. The results of this study are based on the solid experience of the interviewees in the world of industry and trade.
Notes to editors:

  • The Business Monitor Latin America (BMLA) is a barometer of opinions, attitudes and practices of Latin America's Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) decision-makers conducted between October and November 2011.
  • The BMLA is a study commissioned by UPS (NYSE:UPS) and was conducted by the leading market research group TNS Gallup in the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico.
  • For its fifth edition, the BMLA interviewed 810 top-level SME executives with decision-making power across various industries.
  • For this survey, an SME is defined as a company with 250 employees or less, while the executives interviewed were those responsible for strategic decisions that have a direct impact on the future course of the company.
  • Figures may total less than 100% where only partial data are used or more than 100% where more than one response was allowed.
  • The results of the BMLA survey provide UPS, its customers, and others information on emerging issues and trends predicted to influence businesses in the region as they operate in the global marketplace.
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