Business leaders are gloomy about prospects for the world economy, according to a major survey of international chief executives released on the eve of the Davos forum.
A survey of 1258 bosses by PricewaterhouseCoopers, timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum of the global business elite, found 48 per cent expect economic decline and only 15 per cent growth.
European business leaders were the most pessimistic, amid fears governments are not up to the task of resolving their debt crises and concerns about the stability of capital markets, the firm said at the ski-resort summit.
"CEO confidence is decidedly down as they deal with the aftershocks to the recession," said Dennis Nally, chairman of PwC International.
"CEOs are disappointed with the course of the global economy and the pace of recovery. The optimism that had been building cautiously since 2008 has begun to recede."
The World Economic Forum is a five-day summit of the world's top political and business leaders which started last night in the Swiss resort of Davos.