President Obama may have tried to put a positive spin on the state of America’s union earlier this week, but he’d be hard-pressed to paint a rosy picture of these numbers…
According to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of 1,258 business leaders in 60 countries, just 40% of them expect their companies to grow this year. That’s down from 48% a year ago.
And it’s not just the renowned trouble hotspots that breed the most pessimism… even confidence in the world’s stronger growth areas is low.
Asia and Africa Heading in Opposite Directions
The outlook among European business leaders specifically has dipped sharply, with just one-quarter expecting their companies to grow this year, compared with 40% this time last year. No surprise there.
What is surprising, though, is to see executives in China – a country where annual GDP growth regularly hits 9% – much gloomier about their future prospects.
In PwC’s last survey, almost three-quarters thought their firms would grow. But this time around, the number has tumbled to just half.
And it’s a similar story in India, where the number of confident executives has taken a worrying 30% slump.
Given that half of those surveyed believe the global economy will shrink this year, it’s to be expected that many worry about the knock-on impact for their businesses.
But with all of that gloom and doom out of the way, there’s one place where that isn’t true. And that’s Africa. It’s the only global region where CEOs are more confident about the outlook for their companies than they were a year ago – 57% expect growth, up 7%.
So, it’s not all bad news on the horizon.