Australian CEOs most pessimistic over global growth


Australian CEOs are among the world’s most pessimistic when it comes to assessing global economic growth, according to results from KPMG’s annual Global CEO Outlook survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Australian CEOs (58 per cent) rated themselves as either ‘neutral’ or ‘not confident’ in the prospects for global economic growth over the next three years, according to the survey.

Australia’s business heads ranked ahead of only Japan – which came in last among the surveyed countries – in rating their global mood for growth.

Japan’s national debt has reached a staggering $USD10.46 trillion (234 per cent of the country’s total GDP) – three times the aggregate of the 10-nation ASEAN bloc. Australia’s net debt to GDP rate sits at a relatively modest 18.9 per cent for 2016-17.

The result stands in stark contrast with last year’s findings, which saw 92 per cent of Australia CEOs buoyant over the prospects for economic growth. The gloomy Antipodean response also stands in marked contrast to US optimism, with 82 per cent of surveyed American CEOs confident of growth, up from 74 per cent the previous year.

Gloomy economic forecasting aside, Australian CEOs were nevertheless mildly optimistic over the prospects for leveraging digital disruption, with 65 per cent of respondents regarding disruption as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Yet questions hang over the capacity for Australian CEOs to manage rapid technological change, with more than half of Australia’s respondents (54 per cent) expressing concern over their ability to keep pace with new technologies.

KPMG’s annual survey assessed nearly 1,300 CEOs across the globe, measuring variables such as business confidence, geopolitical security and the evolving risk landscape.