Davos CEOs more bullish in short-term, politics clouds future

Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:52pm EST
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By Martinne Geller

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Global chief executives are more confident about the economy and the near-term prospects for their companies than they were a year ago, although the impact of recent political upheavals tops their list of longer-term concerns.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of nearly 1,400 CEOs released on Monday, on the eve of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, found that 29 percent expected global economic growth to pick up in 2017, up from only 27 percent last year.

The survey found 38 percent were very confident they could increase revenue growth in the next year, up from 35 percent at the same time last year, which was a six-year low.

Last year's outlook was particularly gloomy due to two years of falling oil prices and slowing growth in China, as well as uncertainty about the next U.S. president, Bob Moritz, PwC's global chairman, told Reuters.

Although Donald Trump's election is a dramatic shift, some bosses expect business-friendly policies like corporate tax cuts and lighter-touch regulation, and are more optimistic about their own ability to navigate the immediate unknown.

"They are more concerned about more things, as the world has become more complicated. The risks that they are worried about are longer-term risks," Moritz said, adding that the survey only reflected the next 12 months, which is too soon to feel the full implications of a Trump presidency or "Brexit".

The International Monetary Fund on Monday lifted its forecast for U.S. economic growth in 2017 and 2018 based on President-elect Donald Trump's tax cut and spending plans, but said this would largely be offset by weaker growth in several key emerging markets.

Updating its World Economic Outlook, the IMF kept its overall global growth forecasts unchanged from October at 3.4 percent for 2017 and 3.6 percent for 2018, up from 3.1 percent growth in 2016, the weakest year since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.   Continued...

A worker prepares the logo of the World Economic Forum in the congress center of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 16, 2017.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich