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McKinsey Global Survey

June 26, 2012

Amid fears of default and slowing emerging-market growth, executives’ expectations for the global economy—and their own countries—are more pessimistic than they were in March.

The euro’s future is in limbo. GDP growth in emerging markets is slowing. Uncertainty about sovereign debt threatens economic growth across the globe. It’s no surprise, then, that in our latest survey on economic conditions executives’ expectations for the global economy are the lowest they have been since March 2011.

This survey was in the field in the week leading up to Greece’s elections, and the responses reflect the chronic concerns about the country’s debt and the eurozone as a whole: the largest share expect Greece to default on its debt, sovereign-debt defaults are the most-cited risk to global economic growth, and executives are almost twice as likely as in March to expect a eurozone recession in the next six months. After a renewed vote of confidence in their own economies three months ago, most executives—and a particularly high share of those in Europe—expect economic conditions in their countries either to stay the same or to worsen.

All that said, executives remain optimistic about their companies’ prospects. Only 15 percent say customer demand for their companies’ products and services will decrease, and more than half expect profits to increase in the next six months. But this optimism does not extend across all regions and industries: larger shares in India and in the manufacturing sector now expect demand to decrease than did in March.