CEOs not confident about Indian economy

The findings come at a time when the global trade order is facing a shift after US tariffs hike.

New Delhi: More Indian CEOs are confident about the global economy than their country’s, according to a survey by consultancy firm KPMG. As per the fourth annual KPMG CEO Outlook report, two-thirds of Indian CEOs consider that a return to territorialism in different parts of the globe is a threat to their business.

The report, based on the inputs of over 125 Indian CEOs, said “89% of them expressed confidence in the global economy, while only 69% seemed optimistic about the growth of the Indian economy”.

They have expressed greater confidence in the global economy and see emerging markets as the biggest priority for geographic expansion, it said.

CEOs in India are treading cautiously as they need to respond and be ready for an ever-expanding range of complex challenges and growing pains. Two-thirds (66%) of business leaders surveyed in India identified return to territorialism as a threat to their organisation’s growth. Arun M Kumar, chairman and CEO, KPMG India

“Regardless of the dip in confidence in the country’s economy, CEOs are still optimistic about the short and mid-term growth of the sectors their organisations operate in,” it said.

The KPMG report said however that when it comes to foraying into developed markets they are treading cautiously due to geopolitical volatility. The increasing protectionism, specially in erstwhile bastions of free enterprise, has led 36% CEOs to become cautious about geographic expansion in developed countries.

The findings come at a time when the global trade order is facing a shift after US tariffs hike.

Trusted regions

  • Under emerging markets, with 28% votes, Central/ South America has emerged as the most trusted region for expansion for CEOs in India. This is followed by Eastern Europe (27%) and Africa (21%).
  • Interestingly, the CEOs saw Brexit as an opportunity to expand their operations in the UK with 42% of CEOs of cos with no operations in the country likely to make inbound investments there or 32% stating that they might increase level of trade with the UK.
  • Some are likely to move their headquarters or operations to the UK while others are planning to hire new talent in the UK, the report added.
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