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PwC's Dennis Nally says global economy, geopolitical tensions are CEOs' top worries

The global economy and geopolitical tensions are the two key factors weighing on the confidence chief executives place on their businesses, according to PwC's global chairman.

"We all know how integrated the global economy really is, and 'not looking good' is how I'd put it," Dennis Nally, global chairman of the consultancy, told CNBC at the 2016 Davos World Economic Forum.

Just 27 percent of business leaders are confident that the global economic growth will improve, while 35 percent are very confident in business growth prospects, according to PwC's 19th Annual Global CEO Survey. The survey, released Wednesday, was based on interviews with 1,409 CEOs in more than 83 countries.

The geopolitical environment was now the "number two concern expressed by CEOs today, whether it's in the Middle East or in other parts of the world," Nally said.

Nally explained that geopolitical risks were heightened because of "how integrated the economy really is, and you've got hot spots anywhere in the world, and it creates instability...business leaders hate instability."

Geopolitical events have dominated international news so far this year, from the Saudi-Iran conflict over Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shia cleric, to North Korea alarming the world by testing out its "miniaturized" hydrogen bomb.

Dennis Nally, Ceo of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Martin Simon | CNBC
Dennis Nally, Ceo of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

And yet, China's slowdown is not a critical risk in Nally's estimation, but a "bump on the road."

"For those who have been following China for a number of years...what's fundamentally changed? This market is going through a massive transformation which has never been done before [and] they're making progress," Nally said. "Think about it from a long-term standpoint, and I think [China's] going to come through just fine."

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