Companies' appetite for mergers and acquisitions has fallen to a four-year low, with investment pressured by worries over Brexit and the U.S.-China trade battle, according to a study released on Monday.
Less than half — 46 percent — of global executives plan to buy other firms in the next 12 months, a 10 percent decline from the previous year, EY said in its biannual "Global Capital Confidence Barometer" report.
The consultancy said that 46 percent of respondents to a survey of more than 2,600 executives across 45 countries also said they saw regulation and geopolitical uncertainty as the biggest risk to dealmaking activity over the next year.
"Geopolitical, trade and tariff uncertainties have finally caused some dealmakers to hit the pause button," Steve Krouskos, global vice chair of EY's transaction advisory services team, said in a statement.
"Despite stronger-than-anticipated first-half earnings and the undeniable strategic imperative for deals, we can expect this year to finish with much weaker M&A than how it started."