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US corporates hang onto cash as business confidence drops

According to a study by the US Association of Financial Professionals (AFP), US companies accumulated short-term cash balances at a quicker rate during Q2 2015, compared to the previous quarter. The study – the AFP Corporate Cash Indicator – found that finance professionals expect their levels of cash balances to continue growing during the third quarter, which suggests companies are feeling less confident about business prospects.

The survey, which was underwritten by Capital One Bank, found that 43 percent of organisations held larger cash and short-term investment balances at the end of Q2 2015 than they did at the end of Q1 2015, while 39 percent had greater cash and short-term investment balances at the end of Q2 2015 than they had one year earlier.

AFP's president and CEO, Jim Kaitz, said: “Treasury and finance professionals remain hesitant to reduce their organisations’ cash balances for two reasons. First, challenges in the global economy are causing headwinds abroad. Second, the timing and size of an interest rate hike in the US is compounding uncertainty. Until these challenges are behind us, organisations will be reluctant to deploy cash.”

The survey is produced by the AFP once a quarter and is a measure of corporate cash and short-term investment holdings as well as of expected business conditions. The next survey results will be available on 26 October 2015.

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