With the credit markets tightening, a majority of the 688 CFOs and senior comptrollers surveyed by Grant Thornton see the cost of credit increasing for their companies, and the availability of credit decreasing.

The poll, conducted last month, found that 55 percent of the respondents have seen their credit costs increase, while 64 percent said that credit is more difficult to come by than a year ago. However, when asked if they have needed to return to bank credit because they no longer could access alternative financing structures, 86 percent of the CFOs and senior comptrollers said no.

When asked what they expected of the U.S. economy over the next six months, 22 percent said they believed it would improve, 47 percent predict the economy would remain the same, and 31 percent anticipate it would get worse. Asked about their own companies' financial prospects over the next six months, 40 percent of the respondents predict their prospects will improve, 43 percent say they will remain the same, and 17 percent say they will get worse.

Asked about the prices or fees charged by their companies, 42 percent expect them to increase, 51 percent predict they will remain the same and 7 percent believe they will decrease. Over the next six months, 30 percent of the respondents expect the headcount at their company to increase, 47 percent said it would remain the same and 23 percent said it would decrease.

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