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The Economist and the Financial Times today publish a new global survey which reveals the depth of pessimism amongst the world’s business elite regarding the euro debt problem. Despite the bail-outs of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, the majority (62%) of global respondents felt the worst was yet to come, with executives in North America the most pessimistic at 70%.
The new quarterly Global Business Barometer from The Economist and the FT, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, will capture global business sentiment by surveying senior executives around the world. In this first publication, executives showed themselves to be bullish on global business conditions. Overall confidence, measured as the balance of executives who think the global economy will improve, over those who expect it to worsen, is at 19.3 percentage points. In September 2008, when a similar survey was last taken, business confidence was -37.1 percentage points. Africans (36.9 percentage points) are far more sanguine about prospects for the next six months than Asians (16.4 percentage points) and west Europeans (15.9 percentage points).
Daniel Franklin, executive editor at The Economist, commented: “While business executives are pretty confident about the outlook globally, there are clear concerns on the horizon. Most notable are Europe’s debt problems where global executives expect that the worst is yet to come.”
He added: “The Economist and the FT are building what we hope over time will be the definitive global barometer of business sentiment.”
Carried out quarterly by the Economist Intelligence Unit and based on interviews with over 1,500 business executives around the world, it will highlight not only the change in business sentiment but the differences between regions and sectors. It will also help pinpoint what corporate leaders see as the biggest risks over the coming months.