DAVOS, Switzerland: Top business leaders are increasingly confident about the state of the world economy though they are only slightly more bullish on the prospects for their own companies, according to a major survey released at the Davos forum on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
According to the survey of 1,344 chief executives conducted by financial services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, those forecasting a recovery in the world economy jumped to 44 percent, up sharply from 18 percent last year.
Only 7 percent of corporate bosses thought a recession was looming in 2014, a significant plunge from the 28 percent expecting a contraction last year.
By region, chief executive officers (CEOs) in Western Europe were the most confident, with half of the respondents brushing off years of debt crisis for a far rosier outlook.
The upbeat attitude was shared by Middle East CEOs, where 49 percent of bosses saw growth for this year, and Asia with 45-percent forecasting growth.
The most bleak outlook for 2014 came from Eastern Europe, where only one in four of CEOs said growth was on the cards.
Major worries emerging in survey responses were a feared tightening of business regulation, and an enduring inability by governments to slash deficits and wind down debt.
Bosses in the tourism industry were the most confident about the state of the world economy, followed closely by banks and retailers.
Steelmakers, slammed by years of plummeting demand, were the most negative about the growth prospects this year.
When gauging the prospects of their own companies, CEOs were only slightly more confident about prospects this year, with 39 percent very confident that sales would improve this year. Last year, 36 percent felt the same way.