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Europe in best shape since 2010: Credit Suisse

Europe's economy is in the best shape in six years though progress in the recovery is slow, the chief executive of Credit Suisse told CNBC.

"I think Europe is in the best position it has been since 2010," Tidjane Thiam told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.

His comments come as Europe traded sharply lower on Wednesday, taking cues from a weak session in Asia and fresh lows in the oil markets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 stumbled around 3 percent in early deals, with all major European benchmarks also down in excess of 2 percent. U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply lower open, with Dow futures sinking in excess of 300 points.

"I've never been optimistic on Europe. I'm actually quite on the record as a euro bear, so I think that the fact that I swing to a positive here I hope is meaningful," he added.

The euro zone economy grew 0.3 percent in the third quarter of 2015, a slowdown from the 0.4 percent recorded in the previous quarter.

Tidjane Thiam, chief executive officer of Prudential Plc
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Tidjane Thiam, chief executive officer of Prudential Plc

But Thiam said the persistently low oil price is positive for the world economy.

"I still remain on the positive side because oil…globally it's great news for all the oil importing countries…great news for the U.S. economy and the U.S. consumer. It's been really supporting global growth," Thiam said.

The Credit Suisse boss did admit that the economy was improving slowly however, adding that political issues across the 28-nation European Union (EU) would continue.

"I've never not seen a problem in Europe," Thiam said.

The comments were echoed by another business leader.

"We are seeing the economy in Europe growing, in spite of us not having made an awful lot of structural changes to the countries' economies. So I think there are a lot of hidden pluses to the low oil prices, but of course every change is having its victims," Nils Andersen, the CEO of Moller Maersk, told CNBC in a TV interview at Davos.

— With contribution from CNBC's Katy Barnato.