Business leaders pessimistic about the outlook for growth

Number of chief executives expecting decline in growth has more than doubled to 17%

Indian business leaders are the most confident, with 62 per cent expecting their companies to grow this year. Photograph: Reuters/Carlos Barria

Indian business leaders are the most confident, with 62 per cent expecting their companies to grow this year. Photograph: Reuters/Carlos Barria

 

Business leaders are increasingly pessimistic about the outlook for global economic growth this year.

The number of chief executives expecting a decline in growth has more than doubled to 17 per cent (from 7 per cent) in the annual PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Survey, published at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. Sentiment was generally poorest in Europe and strongest in the Asia Pacific region.

However, 37 per cent still expect to see some growth (down from 44 per cent in 2014) and there has been a slight increase to 39 per cent (from 36 per cent) in the number of bosses confident about the prospects for their own businesses despite the global outlook.

Indian business leaders are the most confident, with 62 per cent expecting their companies to grow this year. Russia, where CEOs had been the most bullish last year, is at the foot of the table this time around, with just 16 per cent expecting expansion this year.

More than 1,300 CEOs in 77 countries were interviewed for the survey, the 18th in a series.

“CEOs overall remain cautious in their near-term outlook for the worldwide economy, as well as for growth prospects for their own companies,” said Dennis Nally, chairman of PwC International. “Some mature markets like the US appear to be rebounding, others like the euro zone continue to struggle.”

Speaking about Ireland, PwC Ireland senior partner Ronan Murphy said: “Ireland’s economy continues to recover and is now the fastest growing economy in the euro zone.

“While exports continue to grow, as a small open economy, slower growth in international markets will present a challenge.”

On the upside, one half of all those surveyed said they expected to employ more people during the year, with 21 per cent forecasting job cuts.