High-level executives in emerging markets worldwide are adopting a cautious, back-to-basics approach towards growth and expansion in 2023, while making the bottom line their priority, amid geopolitical uncertainty and tight financial conditions, according to the latest Global CEO Survey carried out by the global research and advisory company Oxford Business Group (OBG).
Titled ‘Future Focused: What CEOs see on the Horizon for Emerging Markets in 2023’, the survey gauges the views of more than 200 executives from Africa, Asia, the Gulf, Latin America and the Caribbean on their near-term expectations for business.
OBG’s first Global CEO Survey since 2019 is accompanied by an in-depth analysis of the findings, together with an introductory viewpoint by Oliver Cornock, the group’s Editor-in-Chief. In addition, OBG’s regional editors comment in detail on the results for the markets they oversee. The survey can be viewed in full at https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/ceo-surveys/global-ceo-survey-what-is-on-the-horizon-for-emerging-markets/.
Almost half of executives surveyed said they expected business conditions in their market to improve in 2023, with commodity price fluctuations cited as the biggest challenge to be faced, followed by exchange rate volatility and supply chain disruption.
Business leaders were also asked about their forecasts for revenue from in-country operations and the factors they thought risked negatively affecting corporate performance. In answer to these questions, 40% of respondents told OBG they anticipated revenue growth in the coming months, while a further 30% expected business to remain steady. Inflation gave respondents the greatest cause for concern, followed by the availability and cost of credit.
Other topical issues featured in the survey include a question on environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles. When executives were asked what single factor had influenced ESG commitments the most, responses were mixed, with an equal percentage (17%) citing regulatory requirements and corporate image and reputation.
Cornock said the results confirmed that while recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic had produced significant growth and heightened economic activity in many of the markets OBG covers, external factors, including inflationary pressure, high exposure to both commodity markets and the US dollar, as well as geopolitical uncertainty had combined to make caution the current watchword for many business leaders.
“There are nonetheless strong indicators that CEOs are prioritising the bottom line, focusing on growth through balancing the books, and understanding prevailing macroeconomic risks and the global geopolitical backdrop,” he said. “OBG’s Yellow Slice countries are characterised by strong economic fundamentals, as well as youthful populations of early adopters. Harnessing these strengths, alongside the back-to-basics approach to business, looks to be the order of the day.”
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