Russian CEOs have gone from most confident to least, says global CEO index

Russian CEOs have gone from most confident to least, says global CEO index

Russian CEOs have gone from most confident to least, says global CEO index

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Chief executives are less optimistic about the global economy this year than last year, with Russian CEOs showing the least amount of confidence, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has shown.
PwC’s annual survey shows that just 37 percent of all surveyed company chiefs believe the economy will improve in 2015, down from 44 percent last year. Russia’s bosses have gone from the most confident to the least, due to problems caused by sanctions and the falling oil price, said the report, which was first unveiled at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last week.

Looking country by country, India’s CEOs top the list, with 62 percent very confident in their short-term growth prospects. Other leading countries include Mexico (50 percent), the U.S. (46 percent) and Australia (43 percent), followed by the UK, South Africa, China, Germany and Brazil. Among the least confident countries are France (23 percent), Venezuela (22 percent), Italy (20 percent), Argentina (17 percent) and, at the bottom of the list, Russia, with only 16 percent of CEOs very confident of revenue growth for 2015. This is down from 53% last year, when Russia’s CEOs were the most confident in the world.

“The world is facing significant challenges economically, politically and socially. CEOs overall remain cautious in their near-term outlook for the worldwide economy, as well as for growth prospects for their own companies. While some mature markets like the U.S. appear to be rebounding, others like the eurozone continue to struggle. And while some emerging economies continue to expand rapidly, others are slowing. Finding the right strategic balance to sustain growth in this changing marketplace remains a challenge,” said Dennis M. Nally, Chairman of PwC International, by a press release.

“CEO confidence is down notably in oil-producing nations around the world as a result of plummeting crude oil prices. Russian CEOs, for example are the least confident this year. Confidence also slipped among CEOs in the Middle East, Venezuela, and Nigeria,” he added.

One of the most interesting results of the survey showed that CEOs rank the U.S. as the most important market for growth over the next 12 months, placing it ahead of China for the first time since PwC started asking this question five years ago.  Overall, 38 percent of CEOs say the U.S. is among their top-three overseas growth markets, compared with 34 percent for China, 19 percent for Germany, 11 percent for the UK and 10 percent for Brazil.

On a global level, the biggest worries that chief executives have are geo-political uncertainties, over-regulation and cyber security.

PwC interviewed over 1,300 chief executives from 77 countries over the final three months of 2014 for the survey.