ASEAN CEOs Most Confident On Growth

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HANOI – A report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that CEOs based in ASEAN are far more bullish about growth prospects than any other region globally. The 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, which measures investor confidence, puts ASEAN-based Chief Executives at 45 percent optimistic as against 39 percent globally. ASEAN CEOs also expressed stronger long-term confidence – a huge 96 percent being optimistic about longer-term growth prospects in the region.

“CEOs have begun to regain confidence. They’ve successfully guided their companies through recession and now more CEOs feel positive about their ability to increase their revenues and prospects,” said PwC International Chairman Dennis Nally.

This measured sentiment is a sharp improvement over the previous survey’s result, when just 18 percent of global executives thought the coming year (2013) would be strong. Concerning influencing factors, China was an important engine for growth in ASEAN, with some 41 percent of ASEAN CEOs stating China’s market as being the most important for their expansion plans, followed by Indonesia (24 percent) and India (21 percent).

Sixty-five percent of ASEAN-based businesses also expected to recruit additional staff during 2014, compared with a global average of 50 percent.

However, some lingering issues remain. Top concerns among ASEAN CEOs were exchange rate volatility, overregulation and a lack of skilled labor. CEOs operating in the region were more likely to be somewhat concerned about overregulation, an increasing tax burden and exchange rate volatility than were CEOs overall, while the same Asia-based CEOs were less likely to worry about slowing growth compared to the pool of CEOs in general.

In terms of specific industries, hospitality and leisure are expected to show the most growth, followed by banking and capital markets. CEOs in the metals industries were the least confident concerning growth prospects.

1,300 CEOs were surveyed across 68 countries to compile the report, with 445 respondents from the Asia Pacific region.

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