Despite the whirlwind of optimism in 2018, CEOs worldwide aren't nearly as hopeful about their respective business climates, according to a recently released survey by PwC and the World Economic Forum (WEF). More than 1,300 CEOs responded to the global survey, 30% of whom anticipate a decline in global growth over the next year.
On Jan. 22, PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz told CNBC trade conflicts, the EU and Brexit dilemma and climate change were the most concerning to CEOs in 2019. The federal government's economic policies in North America are believed to have contributed to the 26% drop in CEO optimism, which now rests at 37%—a drastic downturn compared to record high optimism in 2018.
"What you have now is not much more upside being seen, you see a lot more downside with the political agenda and trade conflicts, and no promise or hope for anything else like infrastructure," Moritz told CNBC.
For example, the survey found 98% of U.S. CEOs and 90% of China's CEOs are worried about the trade war. NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., said there are two issues between the U.S. and China.
"The first and arguably most important is the protection of U.S. intellectual property. The second issue is that the U.S. wants the Chinese to buy more from the U.S., and in more diverse sectors," Kuehl said. "There is reason to think China may be willing to budge a bit on both issues, but that will depend on whether the U.S. gives China any of what it wants."
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate