LONDON: The positive sentiments of the global marketing community during August have been driven more by optimistic views on staffing levels and trading conditions than on budgets, according to Warc's latest Global Marketing Index.

The headline GMI, which combines trends reported across these three areas, picked up to 55.6, from 54.3 in July. On a scale where values above 50 indicate a positive trend, the sector continues to be confident about the immediate future.

The Americas and Europe both saw a 1.9 point rise in their GMI figures, to 58.3 and 54.8, respectively. Asia Pacific's index slipped 0.8 points to 53.8.

The biggest change in attitude, however, came in the index of staffing levels, which rose 3.2 points to 58.2, its highest reading for 16 months and suggesting an upswing in hiring in every region.

Europe led the way, with a significant 6.3 point rise to 59.3. The Americas saw a more modest 2.7 point increase to 57.8. While Asia Pacific was up by 0.9 points, to 58.2.

The global index of trading conditions rose marginally, up 0.6 points to 57.1. Conditions improved the most in the Americas, up 2.7 points to 61.2. Europe and Asia Pacific also recorded positive readings of 55.2 and 55.0 respectively.

The global index of marketing budgets held steady for the month, returning a reading of 51.5. But Asia Pacific experienced a further net decline in budget expectations; following July's five-point drop to 50.0, the region's index slipped another 1.8 points to 48.2.

In contrast, both Europe and the Americas recorded a slight improvement of 0.3 points each. This enabled Europe to achieve the neutral figure of 50.0, while the Americas was the only region to see a net rise in marketing budgets as it reached 55.8.

"For the first time since the GMI began, the outlook for marketing budgets in Europe is more positive than that for Asia Pacific," noted Suzy Young, Data and Journals Director at Warc.

But she was cautious about extrapolating the data. "We will have to wait and see if Europe's outperformance in August is part of a long-term trend," she said.

Data sourced from Warc