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CEO Confidence Index, March Quarter 2020: CEO confidence gaining ground

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The CEO Confidence Index March Quarter 2020 is showing early signs of leaders refocusing business decisions in 2020 after enduring a sustained period of flat economic activity.

The first insights into business conditions in Australia in 2020 highlight improving confidence in the economy and continued optimism from CEOs on their business prospects.

The most significant shift in the CEO Confidence Index over the past three months has been the improvement in expected economic conditions, which is impressive given the severe bushfire season we have just experienced.

Views on the economy, on the rise from the low point in 2019, are slowly edging back towards the neutral 100 Index level. This is consistent with an economy that has stabilised in the past six months but remains vulnerable to setbacks.

At this stage, the precise impacts on the global and Australian economies are difficult to assess. History suggests that these events have a relatively modest impact on overall economic activity.

The CEO Confidence Index March Quarter 2020 shows firms in the Australian mid-market are preparing for a better year of economic activity. However, it is too early to say that the recovery has taken hold, particularly with the coronavirus still uncontained.

The Index is a resource for business leaders across Australia and New Zealand, including our 1,200 plus members, to inform decision making in this critical planning period.

TEC members have access to the full report. Find out about membership.

Report highlights:

  • 2020 vision for business decision making
  • CEO confidence gaining ground as businesses look for recovery
  • Caution ahead of confirmation: Businesses in ‘wait and see’ mode
  • Deflated expectations for inflation
  • Business conditions impacted by views on economy going into 2020

About the CEO Confidence Index

The Executive Connection CEO Confidence Index is a quarterly survey measuring the economic outlook and sentiment of Australian business leaders of mid-market organisations. It covers:

  • Views about economic conditions compared to a year ago
  • Expectations for economic conditions in the year ahead
  • Business expectations for the next 12 months on:
    • Fixed capital expenditure
    • Sales revenues
    • Profitability
    • Prices for their products and services
    • Total headcount

The survey also identifies the challenges and opportunities faced by leaders including business operations, leadership, talent and technology.  Members are CEOs and business leaders of businesses with up to 200 employees and annual revenue of between $2 million and $100+ million per year. The results provide insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by leaders and their confidence in the Australian business environment as well as insights into key issues such as political leadership, access to funding and market conditions.

Listen to the Economic Outlook 2020 for SMEs Podcast

Chief Economic Advisor, Warren Hogan lead a TEC Economic Outlook 2020 Breakfast in the first week of February. Warren provided analysis and commentary on the current economic outlook and the global and local factors in play for business in the year ahead. Adam Creighton, Economics Editor, The Australian also features in a response which gives the listener another perspective to consider.

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