CHIEF executives of companies around the world have expressed increased pessimism about global economic growth in the year ahead, a survey has shown.
Only 27 per cent of the 1,409 CEOs from 83 countries polled expected the world economy to improve this year, compared to 37 per cent last year, and 44 per cent in 2014.
At the same time, the proportion of CEOs who thought the global economy would decline has increased. Some 23 per cent said growth would decline, versus 17 per cent last year and 7 per cent in 2014.
These results were detailed in the 19th Annual Global CEO Survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the eve of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as top corporate representatives, politicians, academics and journalists gather to discuss global issues amid a deepening oil and commodities price rout and China's economic results shakes global confidence.
Said Dennis Nally, PwC's global chairman: "There's no question that business leaders' confidence in both the global economy and their own company growth prospects has taken a knock."
Close to two thirds of those polled also said that they expect to see their revenues shrinking. Only 35 per cent said revenues would grow, compared to 39 per cent last year. CEOs in India were the most optimistic among them, with confidence levels reaching 64 per cent. Those in China were one of the most pessimistic, with only 24 per cent expressing confidence. Only 33 per cent of CEOs in America and the European Union were upbeat.
Over-regulation was cited as CEOs' top-most concerns, with 79 per cent expressing worries about it. Geopolitical risks were the second, at 74 per cent, and exchange rate volatility came in third, at 73 per cent.