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How optimistic are CEOs in Davos?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 02:19

The World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos with the latest survey of CEOs showing fewer are confident about economic growth than last year. As Katie Gregory reports PwC interviewed 1,300 bossess ahead of the event.

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There's one for every country represented at the World Economic Forum. But these 140 snowmen were built to highlight just three issues - poverty, inequality and climate change. The campaigners who built them want to focus the minds of the 1,500 business leaders and 40 heads of state meeting here. And this year they're trying to win over a more optimistic audience. A survery of 1,300 CEOs by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that 39 percent were very confident their business will grow in the next 12 months, roughly on par with last year and slightly higher than the year before. And for the first time, US confidence levels have exceeded China's. Dennis Nally is PwC's chairman. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS INTERNATIONAL, DENNIS NALLY, SAYING: "Without question the decrease in Chinese CEO confidence is certainly a reflection of the plan to continue with the policies of economic reform as well as restructuring that we're all familiar with. The idea to be to deliberately slow growth to a level the authorities call the new normal is to support a more sustainable growth for the longer term." But the growing optimism doesn't extend to the global economy. Only 37% think growth will improve over the next 12 months. Down from 44% from a year ago. BGC's Mike Ingram isn't surprised. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS, MARKETS ANALYST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "The picture that was surposed to have materialised last year was one of accelerrating and broadening global economic growth and in fact you saw the pace of growth pretty much stall and actually become more US centric." India came out top. 62% of CEOs there were confident about growing their revenues. Not surprisingly that figure fell to 16% in Russia, although the Deputy Prime Minister insists the economy is still strong despite falling oil prices. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, ARKADY DVORKOVICH, SAYING: "We have very low unemployment now, compared to the rest of the world, about five percent, very low public debt, still slightly above 10 percent as compared to international standards it's very low." The Ukraine crisis is certainly holding many companies back. And there's no sign of any new breakthrough. In fact, President Petro Poroshenko cut short his visit to Davos - before making a keynote speech - because of escalating fighting at home.

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How optimistic are CEOs in Davos?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 02:19