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PwC Global Chairman: Why CEOs are Pessimistic About 2020 Business Outlook

January 7, 2020, 10:37 PM UTC

It’s a new year, and it’s back to business. So how do American CEOs feel about the economic and business outlook for 2020?

“In general, I would say they’re more pessimistic,” says Robert Moritz, global chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Moritz is in a position to know. PwC is one of the world’s leading professional service companies, operating in more than 150 countries, providing services to almost all of the firms on the Fortune 500. Moritz talks regularly with corporate America’s chieftains, and he says their pessimism is based on a multitude of factors, not just one.

 “You’ve got uncertainty coming out of China in terms of a slowing economy, plus the trade wars. You’ve got a Brexit issue in terms of what’s the role of the UK going forward and the EU for that matter,” he explains. “You’ve got a political issue here in the U.S. in terms of what may happen come next November when we get through an election cycle.”

All those unknowns, he says, has knocked CEO confidence. “That uncertainty causes them to slow and pause and not be so confident in the decisions they’re making.”

The one bright spot, he notes, is American consumer confidence.

“The one thing you can say when people look at the U.S. for opportunity, the resiliency of the country, the consumer confidence, and the consumer experience, as well as the willingness to actually see innovation come to life,” Moritz says. “That’s a positive for CEOs in the U.S. It’s a positive for CEOs around the world to continue to want to invest in the U.S.”

Watch the video above for more.

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