CEO Confidence Declines in Q3/15

The Conference Board and PwC’s Measure of CEO Confidence, which had improved in the first half of the year, declined to 48 in the Q3/15, down from 58 in Q2/15. A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses.

“Confidence among CEOs waned in the third quarter,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “However, expectations for the U.S., Europe and India remain positive. Short-term expectations for Brazil remain subdued, as does the outlook for Japan, but sentiment regarding China’s prospects has deteriorated considerably. Regarding spending plans, the results were mixed. More than a quarter of chief executives report increasing their companies’ capital spending plans since January, while 20% say they have scaled back spending.”

CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions was considerably less positive than in the second quarter. Now, just 19% say conditions are better compared to six months ago, down from 46% last quarter. Likewise, business leaders’ assessment of conditions in their own industries was less positive, with just 18% claiming conditions in their own industries have improved, compared with 49% in the previous quarter.

CEOs are also less optimistic regarding the short-term outlook than earlier this year. Slightly over 22% of business leaders expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, down from 38% last quarter. Expectations for their own industries were also more pessimistic, with less than 17% of CEOs anticipating an improvement versus 40% in the
Global Outlook

More than a quarter of chief executives said they have increased their companies’ capital spending plans since January of this year, while 20% have scaled back spending. In 2014, 21% of respondents had increased their capital spending plans and 17% had made cuts. An increase in sales volume was one of the most common reasons given for increasing capital investment plans, while a decline also played a key role in scaling back spending plans.

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