Corporate finance executives are feeling upbeat about their companies' prospects and say they plan to start deploying some of the cash they've stockpiled over the next 12 months, according to an annual survey by American Express. Of the 541 senior finance executives surveyed worldwide, 45% say they are likely to spend some part of their cash reserves in the coming year. Just 34% say they plan to continue to preserve their cash hoard, down from 62% in 2011.

Spending plans are stronger among U.S. finance executives, with 52% saying they plan to put some of their cash reserves to work in the coming year. Just 31% of U.S. executives say they're not planning to spend any of their cash, down from 48% in 2011.

Asia-Pacific was the only region where finance executives intent on preserving their cash reserves exceed those who plan to start spending, notes Robert Clarkson, vice president and general manager of global corporate payments at American Express. Just 33% of Asia-Pacific finance executives say they are likely to tap their cash hoard, while 41% say they don't plan to.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.