Uncertainty about growth - caution prevails

PwC's 22st CEO Survey

Overall, the CEOs’ views on global economic growth are more polarised this year. The general trend compared to last year’s survey is business executives’ growing pessimism about global economic growth prospects.

Worldwide, 29% of the CEOs anticipate a slowdown of the global economic growth rate over the next 12 months. This is substantially higher than last year’s 5% and shows a record surge in pessimistic forecasts. This result is in stark contrast to the record-high optimism in last year’s survey, when the percentage of respondents projecting the improvement of global economic growth had almost doubled to 57% up from 29% in 2017.

Fortunately, not all business executives share this bleak outlook. More CEOs worldwide still believe economic growth prospects will improve (42%) than expect a decline (29%), though the percentage of optimists is significantly lower than a year ago. 

CEOs in Central and Eastern Europe generally share the view of their counterparts worldwide, with quite similar percentages in our survey. Business executives have adjusted downward their forecasts for 2019 because of rising political and economic uncertainty in the region. There is a sharp rise in the percentage of CEOs expecting a decline in global economic growth (31%, from 6% a year ago). The percentage of those expressing confidence in global economic growth prospects has dropped to 38%, from 45% in 2018.

The level of optimism this year among respondents in Romania about global economy prospects is lower than that of their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe. Thus, 38% of the business executives in Romania believe the global economy’s growth rate will slow down. That is almost three times the percentage in last year’s survey (13%). The opposite view, with a mere 33% of the CEOs in Romania, is that a better year is expected for the global economy and improved growth is anticipated, compared to 49% a year ago. 

After five years when the percentage of CEOs in Romania projecting improved global economy growth rate was substantially higher than that of executives expecting a slowed growth rate, this year’s survey shows a reversal. Only back in 2012 and 2013 was the percentage of “pessimists” higher, when the Romanian economy was struggling to come out of a prolonged difficult crisis.


“Although CEOs are less optimistic than they were a year ago, they still trust their organisations’ capacity for revenue growth. There is promise for business growth, but, in order for this to happen, a stable and predictable economic environment is needed. These two features of a healthy economy are essential to business executives in their planning for growth. To achieve this, constant dialogue between the business community and decision-makers on economic and fiscal policy is crucial to ensuring firm foundations for businesses to grow in Romania and to carry on their investment programmes.”

Ionuț Simion, Country Managing Partner, PwC Romania

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Ionut Simion

Country Managing Partner, Romania

Cristian Tomescu

Manager, Marketing and Business Development , Romania

Tel: +40 21 225 3547

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