The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos has begun with a warning from corporate executives and economists that a global recession is likely to occur this year. A survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in October and November of last year found that 73% of the 4,410 business leaders surveyed predicted that global growth would decline over the coming 12 months, the worst reading since the consulting firm began polling in 2011. Additionally, two out of five even expressed concern that their companies may not survive the next decade.
The concerns are further reinforced by a separate survey of chief economists, released by the Forum, which found that two-thirds expect a worldwide recession in 2023 as businesses cut costs. Furthermore, 18% viewed such a downturn as “extremely likely.” As more than 2,700 executives, bankers and economists head to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the first time in January since 2020, the concerns about a potential global recession will likely be a prevalent topic of discussion throughout the event.
Despite this, PWC global chairman Bob Moritz said that the level of concern in his company’s poll may be overstated and that expectations of a slowdown are baked into predictions as people have seen it coming for a long time. However, compared to the financial crisis in 2008, business leaders are more fearful for the economy now but are more confident that their companies will “manage through this downturn.”