Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

Think CEOs Are Growing More Confident? Think Again

World Economic Forum
Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

CEOs, many of whom are gathering in the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum this week, are feeling less optimistic about their companies' growth prospects than last year or the year before, with many concerned that the global economy will decline further in 2013, PwC said on Tuesday.

A new survey, for which 1,330 interviews were conducted in 68 countries, found that only 36 percent of CEOs worldwide were "very confident" of their company's growth prospects in the next 12 months. The figure was down from last year and 2011, but still above lows recorded in 2010 and 2009.

"We would say confidence levels are actually down this year going into the next 12 months…Most are saying that they don't expect a lot of change this year about the same as the past year," Dennis Nally, Chairman of PwC said Tuesday.

Twenty-eight percent of CEOs say the global economy will decline further in 2013, and only 18 percent predict economic improvement; 52 percent say it will stay the same.

(Read more: Is Income Inequality the Biggest Global Risk? )

"I think certainly the number one issue is just the whole global picture around uncertainty and so you've got pockets of growth, positive as well as negative," Nally said.

"But then again you look to the issues around governments and that can go to deficits, go to debt levels, go to uncertainty around taxes, regulation, another big issue. So you look at all these clouds and that's what's really impacting how CEOs are looking at the next 12 to 18 months," he said.

The situation is no better in Asia, where the outlook for growth is similar, he said.

"What it does really suggest is that we're all in this together. We are talking about a global economy. We're going to have ups and we're going to have downs," he said.

(Read more: It's the US, Not Europe, Discussed at Davos )

He said the key thing for policymakers to do is remove uncertainty, arguing that this issue is holding back CEOs.

"CEOs want to have some degree of understanding around what the rules of the games are. Whether it's taxes, whether its regulation, how they're going to deal with deficits… That's the piece of the puzzle that's really missing today."

World's elite gathers for Davos 2014

  • Argentina, Buenos Aires

    The global elite have stumbled on an emerging market sell-off that served as a reminder of the risks the global economy still faces.

  • A logo sits on a sign at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.

    Sure there was talk of women's issues at Davos but this female CEO says one of the questions she got asked a lot was: Are you here as a spouse?

  • The World Economic Forum logo in Davos, Switzerland.

    Here’s a five-point reality check for why people need to stop bashing Davos as an irrelevant gathering of the elite. By the executive director of Wharton's Risk Management Center.


  • What To Watch For at Davos 2013

    Maria Bartiromo and Steve Liesman discuss what they are looking forward to at the 2013 World Economic Forum.

  • Steve Liesman and Andrew Ross Sorkin discuss staying warm in twelve degree weather (hat or no hat...) at Davos.

  • Maria at Davos 2013

    CNBC's Maria Bartiromo reports from Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, where CNBC will be interviewing some of the biggest names in business. She will be talking to George Soros, Jamie Dimon, Bill Gates and others.

Davos 2013: Behind the Scenes