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UK CFOs are less optimistic and more uncertain about economy now than end of 2015, global survey finds

Published on
31 March 2016

Economic and political uncertainty and currency risk are among major concerns, indicating that a potential Brexit is damaging confidence. UK Financial Executives have the highest understanding among Europeans of recent innovations such as the Blockchain and Smart Contract.

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Rebecca Griffiths,
Communications Management
T: 01727 733885

Two thirds of UK CFOs are less optimistic about the country’s economy now compared with the end of last year, according to the latest round of the Global Business Outlook Survey.

70% of Financial Executives cited economic uncertainty is now their major concern, followed by currency risk (47%) and political uncertainty (35%), indicating that the prospect of a Brexit may be damaging confidence in the UK economy.

The survey is conducted by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Grenoble Ecole de Management, CFO Magazine and Tilburg University. The survey, which ended March 4, has been conducted each quarter for the last 20 years. The survey spans the globe, making it the world’s longest-running and most comprehensive research on senior finance executives.

UK CFOs think there is a probability of 25.7% that the country's economy will be in recession at the end of 2016. This is a more positive outlook than many other countries, including half of Brazilian, South African and Greek financial executives, who believe their economies will enter or remain in recession by year-end.

72% of UK CFOs worry that slowdown in Europe is biggest risk that could lead to recession, while 44% cite political risk and budget deficit as other risk factors. One- third also expressed concern about the impact of slowdown in China and other emerging economies.

“This quarter’s findings reveal that UK Financial Executives are less optimistic and more uncertain about the country’s economy than they were at the end of last year. This appears to reflect the ongoing debate around a potential Brexit. Some of the leading concerns include political uncertainty, currency risk and slow-down in Europe, indicating that this issue is keeping CFOs awake at night,” said Philippe Dupuy, Finance Professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management, a partner of the survey.

“At the same time UK CFOs remain more optimistic about the prospect of the economy staying afloat than their counterparts across the globe – in particular half of Brazilian, South African and Greek CFOs believe their economies will enter or remain in recession by year-end.”

Understanding Innovation

UK CFOs claim the highest understanding among Europeans of recent innovations such as the blockchain and smart contract. Around 53% of them say they understand both technologies. This number falls to 30% on average in Europe.

In the UK, nearly a quarter said they have an understanding of Blockchain, compared with just 7% in France, 8% in the Netherlands and 8% in Spain.

Global Economic Outlook

Optimism from U.S. CFOs about the American economy fell slightly this quarter. On a scale from zero to 100, financial executives rate the outlook at 59, down from 60 last quarter and below the long-run average. Top concerns in the U.S. include economic uncertainty, the cost of benefits, difficulty finding qualified employees and regulatory requirements. Health care costs are expected to rise by more than 7 percent in 2016.

Canadian optimism fell to 56 this quarter, down from 59 in December. Canadian CFOs assign a 42 percent chance of recession by year-end 2016. Employment will remain flat and business spending will increase 1 percent at the median firm this year.

Asian optimism averaged about 57 out of 100 this quarter, ranging from 45 in Japan to 56 in China to 69 in India. Chinese and Japanese CFOs believe there is a 33 percent chance of recession in their home countries by year-end, compared to only 10 percent in India and less than 20 percent elsewhere in Asia. Capital spending is expected to increase by 2 percent in Japan, 4 percent in China and about 7 percent averaged across the rest of Asia.
Wages will be stagnant in Japan, but about a 5 percent hike averaged across the rest of Asia. Full-time employment will be flat in Japan, increase 2 percent in China and by about 5 percent in India. Top concerns include economic uncertainty, currency risk, weak demand and governmental policies. Chinese CFOs also worry about productivity.

Optimism in Europe declined to 53 this quarter from 58 last quarter. Wages should increase by just 1 percent and no full-time employment growth is expected. European top concerns include economic uncertainty, government policies, difficulty attracting the right employees and currency risk. European CFOs assign a 30 percent chance of recession by year-end 2016, with chief causes being slowdowns in Europe and China, as well as political risks and budget deficits. The probability of recession is greater than 50 percent in Portugal, Greece and Russia. One-in-nine European firms are exploiting big data in running their firm and another 30 percent plan to soon adopt the technology. Many fewer firms plan to implement bitcoin, Blockchain or other recent technological advances.

African optimism remains low (46 out of 100, down from 49 last quarter) and is only 38 in South Africa. Sixty percent of South African CFOs expect a recession by year-end, in contrast to 35 percent in Nigeria. Employment is expected to fall by nearly 2 percent in 2016. Capital spending will rise by 2.4 percent on average, with nearly a 10 percent increase in Nigeria, offsetting a 2.3 percent reduction in South Africa. African CFOs are worried about currency risk, economic uncertainty, government policies and limited access to capital.

Latin American economic optimism remains low (45 on a 100 point scale), though it is a region of contrasts. Optimism in Brazil and Chile is extremely low (about 37), but strong in Mexico (70) and Peru (63). Three-fourths of CFOs in Brazil and Ecuador expect their countries to be in recession at year-end. That’s compared to 34 percent in Chile, 30 percent in Mexico and 19 percent in Peru. Averaged across Latin America, capital spending in expected to rise 3.7 percent in 2016, with a positive outlook in all responding countries. Full-time employment will fall by 5 percent in Brazil and Ecuador and fall by 2 percent in Chile, while increasing by a median 3 percent in Mexico.

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    Grenoble Ecole de Management et le ZEW, le Centre de recherche économique européenne, réalisent chaque semestre une enquête auprès d’experts du marché de l’énergie opérant dans l’industrie, la science, et l’administration publique en France et en...

  • Research on sharing economy
    Published on 18 October 2016

    L’économie du partage : entre réussites, paradoxes et désillusions

    Thibault Daudigeos, professeur, et Vincent Pasquier, doctorant en Sciences de Gestion à Grenoble École de Management, ont établi une cartographie en trois dimensions de l’économie du partage, dans un article issu de leurs travaux de recherche,...

  • Published on 22 September 2016

    Energy market barometer report - Summer 2016

    Digital transformation in the electricity sector: this Summer 2016 edition of the Grenoble Ecole de Management Energy Market Barometer explored the assessment of French Energy experts regarding the digital transformation of the electricity sector in...

  • Published on 22 September 2016

    Baromètre du Marché de l’Energie : Été 2016

    Transformation numérique dans le secteur de l’électricité : cette édition Été 2016 du Baromètre du marché de l’énergie par Grenoble Ecole de Management sonde l’opinion des experts français de l’énergie au sujet de la transformation numérique du...

  • Published on 19 March 2017

    Easy-to-Read Food Labels Increase Intention to Purchase

    The battle for healthy food has become a worldwide concern. Public health agencies have invested energy and resources in fighting health risks such as obesity. In this battle, food labels that indicate nutritional facts have come to play a vital...

  • Published on 19 March 2017

    Recherche : Informations nutritionnelles, gare à l’effet boomerang des efforts de clarté

    Plus la fiche d'informations nutritionnelles d'un produit est lisible et facile à assimiler, plus les intentions d'achat des consommateurs augmentent. Y compris si le produit est mauvais pour la santé ! Un éclairage inédit sur les efforts de...

  • Published on 13 September 2016

    Dans les entrailles de Pokémon Go

    De l’utilisation abusive des datas collectées à la constitution d’un algorithme capable de prédire le comportement des utilisateurs, Nathalie Devillier met en lumière l’opacité de l’application Pokémon Go. Une technologie qui attise les...

  • Michel albouy
    Published on 12 September 2016

    Le Brexit : vers une Europe à plusieurs vitesses ?

    Entretien avec Michel Albouy, professeur de finance à Grenoble Ecole de Management. Le Brexit lève un tabou. Vote sanction à l’encontre d’une Europe technocratique, il lance un signal démocratique fort, qui démontre qu’il est possible de sortir de l...

  • Published on 10 October 2017

    Epargner / investir : un MOOC pour apprendre à gérer les liquidités de votre entreprise

    Un cours en ligne gratuit pour gagner en confiance et indépendance face au système financier. Ouverture le 13 novembre 2017. Le MOOC « Epargner et Investir » de Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) qui donnera à tous ses épargnants et dirigeants de...

  • Federico Pigni, Professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 01 July 2016

    Research: Creating Value from Digital Data Streams

    The big data era is upon us. Startups, major companies, organizations and governments are all rushing to extract essential insights from big data. Yet in doing so, many have overlooked the potential value of the digital data streams (DDS) that make...

  • Federico Pigni, Professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 01 July 2016

    Recherche : Le big data temps réel, une nouvelle source de création de valeur

    Enregistrés et analysés en quasi temps réel grâce aux progrès de la technologie, les flux de données du big data donnent naissance à de nouveaux services créateurs de valeur. Une étude portant sur 171 initiatives du monde entier décrypte la logique...

  • Published on 28 June 2016

    Baromètre du Climat mondial des affaires : le niveau d’optimisme rebondit globalement

    Rapport #7 - Été 2016. Nous rapportons dans ce document la perception du climat des affaires par les responsables financiers français et la comparons aux résultats obtenus en Europe et dans le reste du monde. Nous évaluons également les sources de...

  • Published on 27 June 2016

    European CFOs are against Brexit: new Global Business Outlook survey reveals

    European CFOs are overwhelmingly against a British exit from the European Union, the latest round of the Global Business Outlook Survey reveals. More than 75 percent believe it is good for the U.K. to remain in the European Union, and a like number...

  • Business Transfer Ecosystem in France: Situation Analysis in 2015
    Published on 22 June 2016

    Business Transfer Ecosystem in France: Situation Analysis in 2015

    Every year, approximately 150,000 business transfers fail in Europe threatening some 600,000 jobs. BTAR's European project, launched in early 2015, aims to target the vulnerabilities in business transfer systems and draw on best practices in order...

  • Financial Times logo
    Published on 20 June 2016

    Le MSc Finance se maintient dans le top 12 mondial des meilleurs masters en finance

    Pour la troisième année consécutive, le Financial Times a classé le MSc Finance de Grenoble Ecole de Management à la 12ème place du classement des meilleures formations en finance dans le monde.

  • Published on 06 June 2016

    Les nouveaux business du célibat expliqués

    Business model et célibat sont deux notions qu’on voit rarement ensemble. Et pourtant. Revenons un instant sur la notion de business model. Teece définit un business model comme l’anticipation du top management de ce que les clients souhaitent,...

  • Research: the impact of performance evaluations on an individual's network.
    Published on 22 April 2016

    Research: Positive Performance Evaluations Help Employees Develop Internal Networks

    Interactions are an essential part of any organization. Whether it is receiving help from colleagues or gaining access to crucial information, developing a strong internal network makes it easier for an employee to get things done. This latest study...

  • Research: the impact of performance evaluations on an individual's network.
    Published on 22 April 2016

    Recherche : Les salariés reconnus font prospérer leur réseau interne

    Un salarié dont le niveau de performance est reconnu par ses managers étend son réseau de contacts au sein de son entreprise et l'exploite davantage. Dans le cas contraire, il réduit le nombre de ses contacts. C'est la conclusion d'une étude sur 150...

  • websites such as TripAdvisor have given consumers the power to impact a company's image.
    Published on 22 March 2016

    TripAdvisor: How Companies React to Negative Ratings

    The world wide web has revolutionized the hotel, restaurant and other travel-related industries. From online bookings to customer ratings, companies have to learn how to operate in this new environment. While an organization's market identity used...

  • websites such as TripAdvisor have given consumers the power to impact a company's image.
    Published on 22 March 2016

    Recherche : TripAdvisor ou l’irrépressible montée du pouvoir des consommateurs

    A travers TripAdvisor, les clients ont une influence croissante sur la réputation des hôtels et ces derniers répondent de plus en plus aux avis défavorables. C'est ce que montre une étude menée entre 2002 et 2012 sur les avis des clients de 600...

  • Research: Creating Visitor Engagement Through Music
    Published on 29 February 2016

    Research: Creating Visitor Engagement Through Music

    Digital communications have created an information overload for customers. To stand out on the world wide web, companies have to offer clients a high-impact experience. When used properly, music provides a simple yet effective means of creating a...

  • Published on 04 February 2016

    Low oil prices cause investment in renewables, biofuels and energy efficiency technologies to decrease

    The current weak price of crude oil is having an adverse impact on the amount of investment in renewables for heat generation, biofuels, and energy efficiency technologies, according to Grenoble École de Management’s Energy Market Barometer Reading.

  •  Thibault Daudigeos is a researcher in Sustainability, Corporate Social Reponsibility, Alternative forms of Organization, Sharing economy, and new models of management at Grenoble Ecole de Management.
    Published on 26 January 2016

    Recherche : Responsabilité sociale des entreprises globalisées, plus facile à dire qu’à faire

    Les démarches de Responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE) sont censées créer de la valeur. Pourtant, elles peinent à se mettre en place dans les secteurs où les chaînes de valeur sont éclatées : elles coûtent cher et ne profitent pas forcément à...

  • Published on 18 January 2016

    Refugees entering Europe: a positive impact on the economy ?

    The majority of European CFOs believe that refugees entering Europe will have a positive impact on the economy. Nearly 60 percent% of European CFOs believe that accepting migrants will help solve the looming demographic problems their nations face...

  • Published on 07 January 2016

    Baromètre du climat des affaires : l’optimisme se stabilise

    Nous rapportons dans ce document la perception du climat des affaires par les responsables financiers français et la comparons aux résultats obtenus en Europe et dans le reste du monde. Nous évaluons également les sources de risque pour l'entreprise...

  • Published on 04 January 2016

    Recherche : Produit d’origine locale, une mention qui parle au consommateur

    La mention « origine locale » apposée sur un produit alimentaire déclenche chez le consommateur des perceptions plus positives et une intention d'achat plus forte qu'un produit d'une autre région française. Trois études portant sur 632 consommateurs...

  • Published on 28 October 2015

    The influence of humor on the attitudes and behaviors of interns

    Internships have become both an important part of undergraduate education and a critical tool for management education and organizational recruitment

  • -	Projet CHESS – Connected Health Early Stage Researcher Support System
    Published on 08 September 2015

    Connected Health: the New Health Management Models

    Save lives and improve quality of living during and after treatment in the most cost-effective way: the promises of connected health are opening encouraging horizons for the future of healthcare systems. Connected health will contribute to creating...

  • -	Projet CHESS – Connected Health Early Stage Researcher Support System
    Published on 08 September 2015

    Santé connectée : les nouveaux modèles de management de la santé

    Sauver des vies, améliorer la qualité de vie pendant et après le traitement, le tout au meilleur prix : les promesses de la santé connectée ouvrent des horizons encourageants pour l’avenir des systèmes de santé. Elle contribuera à créer un...

  • Rüling Charles-Clemens, Professor GEM
    Published on 08 September 2015

    AMJ Best Article 2014 : Congratulations to Clemens Rüling

    This summer at Vancouver, during last conference « Academy of Management Annual Meeting » Clemens Rüling and his co-authors received the prize of the“AMJ Best Article 2014” for their article on the evolution of United Nations conferences on climate...

  • Published on 07 September 2015

    Energy market barometer report: the development of energy prices

    The next Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December. The Paris Climate Summit, announced as one of the biggest climate negotiations in history,...

  • Published on 03 July 2015

    Making a success of your business transfer: new tools developed for a European project

    Every year, approximately 150,000 business transfers fail in Europe threatening some 600,000 jobs. BTAR's European project, launched in early 2015, aims to target the vulnerabilities in business transfer systems and draw on best practices in order...

  • Published on 23 June 2015

    Baromètre de la finance : Climat mondial des affaires juin 2015

    La perception du climat des affaires par les responsables financiers français et la comparons aux résultats obtenus en Europe et dans le reste du monde. L'évaluation des sources de risque pour l'entreprise ainsi que les prévisions de croissance des...

  • Published on 22 June 2015

    Research: Microeconomic Degrowth, Community Supported Agriculture

    Economic growth is the cornerstone of mainstream macroeconomics. In the face of economic crises and unemployment, growth has long been the only acceptable solution. Yet many issues have started to challenge this dominant economic model. As a result...

  • Recherche : nutrition des sportifs et plaisir
    Published on 16 June 2015

    Is It Fun or Exercise ? The Framing of Physical Activity Biases Subsequent Snacking

    While the benefits of exercising are widely accepted by consumers and healthcare providers, people who begin an exercise program don't necessarily lose weight. A fact that can be frustrating not only for practitioners, but their coaches and...

  • Mark Olsthoorn, professor and researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Mangement
    Published on 07 April 2015

    Recherche : Effacement de consommation électrique, pourquoi les industriels hésitent

    En acceptant de réduire leur consommation électrique lors de pics de demande, les industriels faciliteraient l'équilibrage des réseaux de distribution. Or, ils ont de solides arguments pour ne pas jouer la carte de la flexibilité. Une étude les...

  • Vincent Mangematin, Associate Dean for Corporate Relations and Research at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 17 March 2015

    Orchestrating Innovation with User Communities in the Creative Industries

    In search of continuous innovation, the digital creative industries have expanded their interactions with user communities to develop their products. This study highlights the evolution of these company-user relationships that allow for fluid...

  • Published on 16 January 2015

    Nostalgia makes consumers more likely to spend or donate money

    The use of nostalgia has been a top trend in marketing in the last few years, in commercials, product lines and even TV shows. The present study demonstrates that feeling nostalgic weakens the desire to hold on to money, and makes it easier to part...

  • Published on 16 January 2015

    Recherche : Pourquoi la nostalgie vous donne envie d’acheter

    La mode actuelle des produits « rétro » ou vintage ne doit rien au hasard. Une étude co-écrite par Jannine Lasaleta, chercheur à GEM, montre que ce qui suscite un sentiment de nostalgie réduit simultanément l’attrait pour l’argent. Le dépenser...

  • Joachim Schleich, professor and energy markets experts at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 01 December 2014

    Research: Switching to energy efficient lighting : a bright idea!

    Energy efficiency policies such as the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs (and on halogen ones in the near future) have been the subject of much discussion in the last few years. The majority of the academic community predicted that new emerging...

  • Published on 07 November 2014

    Research : Digitization, Changing How We Work and Coordinate Projects

    All of us use digital tools and objects that can now be shared and combined in a variety of ways. This change has profoundly influenced the organization of work with projects being divided according to specialization and geographical location.

  • Published on 07 November 2014

    Recherche : Effets spéciaux pour le cinéma, l’art de faire collaborer 60 métiers

    Comment les spécialistes des effets spéciaux collaborent-ils sur un même film alors qu’ils appartiennent à 60 métiers différents et sont répartis dans le monde entier ? Deux chercheurs de GEM ont étudié les mécanismes de coordination qui structurent...

  • Erno TORNIKOSKI is a Professor in Entrepreneurship at Grenoble Ecole de Management.
    Published on 16 September 2014

    Research: How can the start-up process be accelerated?

    Success or failure of new businesses is what most studies related to the start-up process focus on. However, in today's dynamic market, time is a highly critical issue for nascent entrepreneurs.