17th Annual Global CEO Survey: CEO Confidence: PwC

Caution. Optimism ahead.

CEOs share their insights on the outlook for the global economy.
CEOs share their insights on the outlook for the global economy.

Twice as many CEOs believe the global economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared to those polled last year.
But it’s a fragile optimism, which has only led to a small rise in confidence about business growth prospects in 2014. And many CEOs remain very worried about over-regulation and the ability of governments to tackle debt and deficit levels. Yet – for now – serious global risks have been averted and CEOs are thinking once again about growth.

But finding that growth has gotten tougher.
Some emerging economies are slowing down and it’s become increasingly clear that they’re diverging in their fortunes as each faces its own unique issues. At the same time, advanced economies appear to be on the mend, although they too face challenges. It’s clear that CEOs are struggling to interpret these signals, with many concerned about sluggish growth in both emerging and advanced economies.

So how are CEOs responding to the changing global footprint?
Nearly one third say their main opportunity for growth lies in existing markets, compared to just 14% who say the same for new geographic markets. Many leaders are also reviewing their portfolio of top overseas markets. This year CEOs see the US, Germany and the UK as more attractive than some of the BRICS markets, compared to last year. And they’re turning to newer markets to find growth as well – in particular Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

Interested in more? Use the data explorer to browse through additional industry data

Launch the data explorer

 

CEO interview quotes

"We can see that the Russian economy has slowed down… At the same time, we have seen quite significant growth in many other economies. For instance, if we look at Africa, especially the Sub-Saharan part, high growth is still observable there, as well as in many Asian markets."

Alexei Yakovitsky
Global CEO of VTB Capital

"I think something like 70% of that population growth is coming out of the Asian markets, Middle East, North Africa… There is a great opportunity for us to position ourselves to serve the requirements of those emerging consumers well... "

Alison Watkins
CEO of GrainCorp

"I think it’s important first to come to terms with the fact that there is no such thing as a homogenous Arab world. Each region in the Arab world has its own unique sets of challenges and its own unique advantages."

Badr Jafar
Managing Director of Crescent Group

"You have… emerging markets like Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey picking up some of [the] diminished growth from China, Brazil, India, Russia... But more importantly, in those developed economies that suffered most from the financial crisis… its impact seems to be bottoming out."

Emilio Lozoya
CEO of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex)

"The rise of non-BRIC emerging countries, such as Indonesia… represent very promising markets for the car industry."

Jean- Dominique Senard
Chief Executive Officer of Michelin Group

"The next emerging areas for us [are] in Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa… But that will not happen in the near term: it will probably be in…five to fifteen [years]. However, we are planning for that now..."

Joseph Jimenez
CEO of Novartis

"The global economy is likely to be marked by pronounced divergences."

Sergio P. Ermotti
Group Chief Executive Officer of UBS