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Canada CEOs cheerier than global peers

Ashleigh Patterson

Canadian chief executives are among the most hopeful in the world about the economy and prospects for their businesses, setting them apart from their more downtrodden global peers.

Forty-two per cent of CEOs in Canada are “very confident” about their company’s prospects in the next 12 months, compared to 36 per cent globally, according to a PwC survey of 1,330 CEOs around the world that was released this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Over the next three years, 60 per cent are “very confident” about growth, compared to 46 per cent globally.

Bill McFarland, chief executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada, said the findings likely reflect a relatively stronger Canadian economy that hasn't faced the same troubles as the U.S. or European economies.

“Canada is a global leader when it comes to stability in our financial sector and Canadian CEOs are responding with greater confidence about their company’s prospects," he said in a release.

Comparatively, on a global basis, only 36 per cent were "very confident" of their firm's prospects for revenue growth in the next 12 months, down from 40 per cent a year ago.

"Given the high levels of concern among CEOs about issues such as over-regulation, government debt, capital market instability it is no surprise that CEO confidence has declined in the last 12 months," said Dennis Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International.

Not surprising the survey also showed European CEOs were the most pessimistic about short-term revenue growth, whereas chiefs in Latin America bucked the global trend and their confidence levels climbed.

In these shaky times, bosses are running their businesses cautiously with 70 per cent saying cost-cutting remains a priority. The top concern among global CEOs is the uncertain economic outlook, though ballooning fiscal deficits ranks second.

Less than half of the global CEOs surveyed say they plan to recruit in 2013, while 23 per cent plan to reduce the size of their workforce, the poll showed.