New Delhi: Fifty-seven percent of CEOs believe global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months, according to PwC’s 21st CEO Survey that will be launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday. The report reveals surprising faith and optimism among CEOs in the economic and business environment worldwide, at least over the next 12 months.

According to the survey, 53% of North American CEOs reported being ‘very confident’ about their own organisation’s revenue growth in 2018. Regionally, it’s a mixed bag, with a higher number of CEOs from North America, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia-Pacific saying they were ‘very confident’, and the rest of the world moving in the opposite direction. This divide is quite striking. While the rest of the world is cautiously optimistic, North American CEOs have never been more sure of their companies’ near-term prospects.

When asked about the geographic markets CEOs are turning to growth, again, North America, specifically the US, topped the chart; 46% of global CEOs consider it one of the three most important countries for growth, followed by China at 33%. Germany strengthened its hold on third place (20%), with UK at #4 (15%). India bumped Japan as the fifth most attractive market in 2018 with 9% of CEOs voting for it.

The survey also assesses the threats CEOs have in relation to their organisation’s growth prospects. Over-regulation is the top concern globally at 42% with terrorism (41%) and cyber threats (40%) moving up while uncertain economic growth and exchange rate volatility moved down as compared to last year.

The threat of ‘uncertain economic growth’, the No. 2 ‘extreme concern’ globally last year, dropped to No. 13. ‘Exchange rate volatility,’ at No. 3 in 2017, barely made it to the top 10 this year.

Each region reports a different mix of threats as the most concerning, but one general global observation is that CEOs across the world are increasingly anxious about broader societal threats—such as geopolitical uncertainty, terrorism, and climate change—rather than direct business risks such as changing consumer behaviour or new market entrants. The threats that trouble CEOs are increasingly existential.

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