PwC: 74% of M’sian CEOs see slower economic growth over next 12 months

KUALA LUMPUR: About 74% of CEOs in Malaysia believe global economic growth will decline over the next 12 months, while 73% globally share the same sentiments, said PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

According to PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey, which polled 4,410 CEOs in 105 countries and territories in October and November 2022, 51% of Malaysian CEOs also think their organisations will not be economically viable in a decade if they continue on their current path.

The pattern is consistent across a range of sectors globally, including telecommunications (46%), manufacturing (43%), healthcare (42%) and technology (41%).

The survey noted that globally, the CEOs’ confidence in their own company’s growth prospects has declined dramatically since last year (-26%), the biggest drop since the 2008-2009 financial crisis when a 58% fall was recorded.

In contrast, CEOs in larger Asia-Pacific countries are much more optimistic about their domestic growth: China with 64%, India 57% and Indonesia 50%, compared with -29% globally.

“The growing emphasis on national interests over global ones represents an acceleration of trends under way – however the fundamentals of the Asia-Pacific region continue to be bolstered by trade liberalisation and markets welcoming foreign direct investment,” PwC said in a statement today.

It said the impact of the economic downturn is top-of-mind for global CEOs this year, with inflation (40%) and macroeconomic volatility (31%) leading the risks weighing on chief executive officers in the short term, between the next 12 months and over the next five years.

“Close behind, 25% of CEOs also feel financially exposed to geopolitical conflict risks whereas cyber risks (20%) and climate change (14%) have fallen in relative terms.

“Similar trends are evident in Malaysia in the next 12 months amidst softening customer demand and persistent economic uncertainty; inflation (40%) is the top threat to growth, followed by macroeconomic volatility (29%) and geopolitical conflict (23%),“ it added.

In response to the current economic climate, chief executives are looking to reduce costs and spur revenue growth with 74% in Malaysia reporting reducing operating costs, while 40% will raise prices and 63% will diversify product and service offerings.

However, 71% of Malaysia’s CEOs are not planning to reduce their workforce, and 83% are not planning to reduce compensation, as they strive to maintain a balance between long-term growth and current operating issues, said the statement. – Bernama