U.S. financial officers gave the economy its highest score in five years and were significantly more confident about economic growth in 2013 in the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch CFO Outlook survey. Executives who participated in the 2013 CFO Outlook Mid-Year Update gave the U.S. economy an average score of 58 out of 100, up from 49 in the previous survey conducted in late 2012. CFOs gave the global economy a score of 51, up from 45. CFOs voiced even stronger optimism about economic growth, with 55 percent expecting expansion in 2013, compared with 39 percent in the previous survey. Only 10 percent said they expect the economy to shrink, down from 24 percent. This confidence comes as U.S. companies continue to do more business in other countries, with 76 percent of CFOs reporting some type of activity in foreign markets. That is up from 73 percent in the previous survey and 67 percent one year ago, as more companies are buying from, selling to and establishing operations in non-U.S. markets. “Beyond their brighter view of the economy, CFOs and their companies remain focused on new markets and opportunities for international growth,” said Alastair Borthwick, head of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “While expanding into other countries is attractive, doing business globally brings many challenges and often requires a wide range of financial solutions. More than ever, U.S. companies are seeking help with accessing capital, managing risk, maximizing cash and increasing efficiency as they grow their businesses.” Kraton Performance Polymers is a leading global producer of engineered polymers, with more than 800 customers in more than 60 countries. Based in Houston, Kraton Performance Polymers recently closed an aggregate $250 million of revolving credit facilities, with $150 million in the U.S. and $100 million outside the U.S.