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Confidence survey CEOs foresee growth amid murky global picture

CEOs outlook for 2017 is a mix of sun and clouds, ahead of this year's World Economic Forum in Davos


Swiss chief executive officers' (CEOs) confidence that their companies will grow in the coming months has doubled since last year, reflecting a worldwide outlook trend revealed ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. 

Some 34% of Switzerland’s CEOs are highly confident in growth in the coming year, according to the 20th edition of an annual global survey from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). That’s compared to 16% saying the same last yearexternal link. Worldwide, 38% of company leaders have high growth confidence for their businesses, but expectations are more dampened when it comes to the global economy. Just under 30% of CEOs expect global economic growth in the coming year, compared to 27% a year ago. 

In addition, geopolitical and workforce trends such as over-regulation, economic uncertainty and the availability of key skills all have about 80% of global business leaders worried in 2017, according to the PwC survey. Protectionism is on the minds of nearly 60% of global businesses leaders, who are concerned about the phenomenon.

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The PwC survey also showed that CEOs are more likely to view globalisation favourably than the general public, with 60% of them saying the movement of capital, people, goods and information has been positively impacted by global networking compared to just 38% of the public. 

Britain’s decision in June to exit the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as US president have not affected CEOs plans to invest in those countries, according to the survey; Bob Moritz, PwC’s global chairman, pointed out that “more CEOs across the world were targeting the US and UK for investment than a year ago”. 

Worldwide, the US, Germany and the UK have become larger growth targets for CEOs compared to previously, while the outlook for Brazil, India, Russia and Argentina has lessened. 

Overall, CEOs named the US, China, Germany, Britain and Japan as the top five countries for growth, with Britain enjoying a particular boost. Compared to last year, 4% more CEOs from the United States see Britain with growth potential, as do 11% more of those from China, 8% more of those from Germany and 25% more of those from Switzerland. and agencies/vdv


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