Davos: Business leaders hold negative outlook for new year in PwC poll

Mohamed Hatem , Tuesday 17 Jan 2023

A poll conducted in October and November 2022 and released on the eve of the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos bodes ill for global economy in 2023.

Klaus Schwab
Klaus Schwab, President and founder of the World Economic Forum delivers his opening speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. AP


A poll conducted by consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) surveyed 4,410 business leaders in October and November last year. The results of the poll, which were released at the start of the Davos 2023 WEF, show that 73 percent of those surveyed gave a negative outlook for 2023 – the worst reading since the consultancy began polling investors in 2011.

Business leaders and economists expect a general decline in global growth during the next 12 months. The survey identifies inflation, macroeconomic volatility and geopolitical conflict as the three biggest risks to global economy in 2023.

According to the survey, 50 percent of business leaders reported reducing operational costs, albeit they do not have any plans to reduce headcount.

Companies have naturally started looking for ways to increase profit margins. Fifty-one percent of CEOs reported raising prices and 48 percent said that they have started diversifying products and services offered to break into new markets.

In this context, two in five business leaders fear that if they do not invest heavily in innovation, their companies might not make it through the next decade, according to PwC.

PwC's global head Bob Moritz said that the main surprise when commenting on global markets was the long-term outlook.

"It is both the timeframe and magnitude that is surprising - how do I survive the next two to three years, and make my way through a challenging macroeconomic environment, while transforming my organisation to be fit for growth over the next 10 years."

"Chiefs need to take action now to survive two years to thrive in the next 10,” he stressed.


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