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PwC: fall in sentiment among Polish CEOs


CEOs of large companies in Poland have fallen into a mood of considerable pessimism about revenue prospects during the next 12 months, in stark contrast to their upbeat sentiment a year ago, according to the 15th Annual Global CEO Survey by PwC, launched on 24 January on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The report notes that top executives in Poland continue to exhibit more dramatic swings in confidence than their counterparts in the rest of the world.

Thus, just 28% the surveyed Polish CEOs are confident their revenues will rise over the next year, down from 66% in the 2011 survey. By way of comparison, the global figure declined much less dramatically, by eight points to 40%. Interestingly, the pattern of responses in Poland is now closer to that found among CEOs in Western Europe (27% expressing confidence) than in Central and Eastern Europe, who are more bullish (41%). At the same time, 47% of Polish CEOs say revenues will "rather increase" during this period, against a global average of 44%. The proportion of CEOs in Poland who see little or no prospect for revenue growth quadrupled to 24% from just 6% (15% globally).

CEOs in Poland are somewhat more optimistic (though still less so than the global average) about prospects for revenue growth over the next three years, with 33% expressing confidence that revenues will rise (compared with 47% globally), and 54% saying they will "rather increase" (42% globally).

Only 30% of top executives in Poland expect to add new jobs over the next 12 months, down from 33% a year earlier and compared with a global average of 51%; whereas 28% anticipate job cuts, down from 32% and compared with just 18% globally.

At the same time, CEOs in Poland are more appreciative than most of their government’s handling of the crisis (64% of positive answers, against a global average of 45%). They also express much greater confidence in the collective international response to the crisis. Simultaneously, they are more sceptical about the prospects for greater economic liberalisation and integration, and more likely to identify expansion in developed markets, rather than emerging markets, as key to their companies’ future growth.

Polish CEOs also show above-average concern about the global economy, including overall growth prospects (87% are worried, against 80% globally), volatile exchange rates (81% to 58%), unstable capital markets (73% to 64%), demand and consumer behaviour (69% to 50%), and inflation (63% to 42%). Furthermore, 74% see more aggressive strategies of competitors as a source of concern (this question was not included in the global survey).

The 15th CEO Survey is based on interviews with 1,258 CEOs based in 60 countries. The Polish leg of the survey was carried out between 21 November and 21 December 2011 among top executives at 76 companies operating in Poland.

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