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US finance professionals optimistic about 2005, according to AFP survey

Improving consumer demand and employment data mean US corporate finance professionals are expecting moderate economic growth during 2005, according to a survey released by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

Eighty-four percent of treasury and financial professionals expect the US economy will grow at a moderate pace (between two and 4.9%) over the next year, while 15% of respondents expect the economy to grow more slowly (less than 2%) while less than 1% of financial professionals expect the economy to contract in 2005.

Although treasury and financial professionals indicate that their companies expect to gain greater access to credit and plan to increase business investment in 2005, the weakening dollar and expanding federal deficits are seen as the most likely threats to further economic growth.  

"The results of our survey show that US corporations are planning and implementing their business strategies for 2005 based largely on a positive financial outlook," said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the Association for Financial Professionals. "AFP members' expectations about the near-term economic outlook and the marketplace in which their company operates impact the critical decisions they make about the amount of corporate borrowing and business investments."

Overall, 54% of financial professionals expect business conditions to improve over the next 12 months. Over