CEOs Expect Low Revenue Growth

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IF THE sentiment among chief executives is anything to go by, it will be a waiting game to see when Singapore’s economy will take an upturn.

At the 20th annual survey of CEOs worldwide, conducted by PwC, the confidence of ASEAN CEOs in revenue growth was at its lowest in three years (2015: 47%; 2016: 38%; 2017: 32%).

When it came down to Singapore CEOs, only 26% were very confident of the year ahead, probably a result of a combination of factors including the uncertainty around Brexit, Donald Trump’s Presidency, the domestic issues of its neighbours, and China flexing its muscle.

The outlook improved somewhat when the Singapore CEOs were polled for prospects over the next three years, when 56% said they were “very confident”.

Causes For Concern

The main causes for concern among ASEAN CEOs were uncertain economic growth (83%), exchange rate volatility (82%) and over-regulation (78%).

Singapore’s safe-haven CEOs voiced a slightly different combination of factors: economic growth (88%); over-regulation (85%); terrorism (85%) and protectionism (79%).

With the rise of China’s dominance, making it a very different regional and global powerhouse compared to its status before opening its economy to the world in the 1990s, it’s not surprising that it is the most important growth country for Singapore. Next is Indonesia, then followed by Malaysia and UK. It’s interesting to note that India and Japan are not in the heady mix.

When asked to offer the cities of importance to Singapore CEOs, many said they will be scratching around in their own backyard in the year of the rooster.

Half of the respondents said Singapore was the most important for their overall growth prospects, followed by Kuala Lumpur (29%), Shanghai, Hong Kong and Mumbai (all at 21%).

The survey was carried out among 1,379 CEOs from 79 countries, with more than half working in privately owned companies.

For the full survey results, click HERE.

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