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SA CEOs less confident about growth than global peers

Jan 24 2019 07:24
Tehillah Niselow, Fin24

The number of South African CEOs who are 'very confident' about their company’s prospects for revenue growth has dropped to 18% in 2019, compared to 22% in 2018, according to a survey by PwC.

This is due to concerns over business, social, and economic threats rising, the survey found.

SA business leaders’ confidence falls below the global sentiment by CEOs, with 35% of top business heads internationally saying they are 'very confident' in their own organisations' growth prospects over the next 12 months, down from 42% in 2018.

The findings form part of PwC's annual CEO survey, released ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Internationally, 29% of business leaders believe that global economic growth will decline in the next 12 months, the highest number since 2012.

"The prevailing sentiment this year is one of caution in the face of increasing uncertainty. CEOs all around the world are less optimistic than they were a year ago about the strength of the global economy and their organisations' ability to grow revenues in both the short and medium term," Dion Shango CEO for PwC Southern Africa, said.

Economic uncertainty

More than half of SA CEOs are 'extremely concerned' about social instability in the country, uncertain economic growth and populism, and all of them surveyed are concerned about the impact of a trade conflict between the US and China.

"In South Africa, economic and policy uncertainty, among other issues, have cast doubt upon business leaders' prospects for future growth," Shango commented.

SA business leaders named the US, followed by China, the UK and Kenya, as the most important countries for their organisation's overall growth prospects in 2019.

On the subject of business threats, 33% of SA business heads said they were 'extremely concerned' about the availability of key skills. Meanwhile, 38% see cyber threats and the speed of technological change as issues to be worried about.

Trade concerns and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and a Chinese slowdown were part of the reasons behind the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowering its global growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5% earlier this week.

The IMF predicts SA’s economic growth will moderately increase to 1.4% in 2019, from 0.9% in 2018.

South Africa's GDP growth has been lagging well behind its economic peers in emerging markets, predicted to growth at 4.2% and below the projected sub-Sahara Africa average of 3.7%.

imf  |  jse  |  executives  |  confidence  |  business
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