The U.S. Conference Board recently released the results of its CEO survey and the results showed that U.S. CEOs are most worried about a recession. In the survey for 2019, cybersecurity was the top concern for domestic leaders with recession fears ranking third. The thoughts of a recession were very low on the list as we headed in t0 2018.
Global CEOs listed recession fears as their chief concern in 2020 and it was also number one in 2019.
There were some interesting discrepancies between respondents from different countries. For instance, Chinese executives had trade and recession tied as their number one concern for 2020. Trade was fourth on the list of U.S. executives. It should be pointed out that the survey was conducted in September and October before the first phase agreement was reached in December.
In 2019, concerns over trade ranked second for global CEOs and second for Chinese executives. Trade ranked fourth in 2019 among U.S. executives. For 2020, trade ranks as the second biggest concern globally and it ranked number one in Latin America.
With all of the political unrest in places like Hong Kong and Latin America, political instability ranked fourth globally, and in the U.S., China, and Japan. The subject was the number two concern in Europe and ranked number three in Latin America.
A tight labor market was the number one concern in Japan and it ranked number three in the U.S. Recession risks ranked number two in Japan and Latin America.
Increased competition ranked number two with U.S. executives and it ranked third with Chinese and Japanese business leaders.
Looking back at the 2019 survey, I mentioned earlier that cybersecurity ranked number one for U.S. executives, and this year it ranks sixth. That is the highest ranking from any country or region with cybersecurity tying for sixth in Japan with the impact of climate change.
Even with these concerns expressed by global business leaders, global equity markets have started off on the right foot for 2020. Early on January 2, indices around the world were mostly higher and a number of them were up over 1.o%. China’s central bank certainly helped boost optimism.
The People’s Bank of China announced that it was lowering reserve requirements for member banks. This should free up cash for lending and could help boost China’s slowing economy.