As economic leaders converge in Davos for the World Economic Forum today, a poll among CEOs shows confidence in company performance has fallen to record lows.
The seventh annual survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of more than 1,100 chief executives found that just 21 per cent were "very confident" of growing revenue during the next year. That is down from 50 per cent one year ago.
Few expect the downturn to be short. "The three-year view is a bit better, but the bad news is it is not that much better," said Tony Poulter, a global consultant with PwC who helped conduct the survey.
Poulter added that just 34 per cent of CEOs interviewed were "very confident" that companies would enjoy revenue growth during the next three years.
The mood has tanked significantly since September, when Lehman Brothers collapsed and Merrill Lynch was sold at a knockdown price.
Five months ago, 46 per cent of business leaders polled believed the banking crisis would affect them. By December 67 per cent believed they would be hit.
Pollsters suggest the mood could be even grimmer now since the survey was conducted in early December. Since then companies around the globe have been slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs in an effort to stay afloat.