India 4th most attractive investment market: PwC survey

Emerges as ‘the rising star’

CEOs’ confidence in global economic growth has dipped dramatically by a record jump in pessimism but India has emerged as ‘the rising star’ by surpassing the UK to become fourth most attractive destination, a PwC survey said on Monday.

Released on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, the survey also showed that China’s popularity was falling among global CEOs but remained second most attractive after the US. However, both the countries saw their attractiveness dip sharply.

The survey of more than 1,300 CEOs in 91 countries saw India’s popularity falling marginally from 9 per cent to 8 per cent. The US topped with 27 per cent (down from 46 per cent last year), followed by China with 24 per cent (down from 33 per cent) and Germany at 13 per cent (down from 20 per cent).

However, 15 per cent CEOs said, “they don’t know” which was the market outside their home territory was the most attractive one for investment (up from 8 per cent last year). This was only next to the US and China and higher than the percentage of CEOs naming India or Germany as the most attractive destination. The percentage of CEOs saying there is “no other territory” also jumped sharply from 1 per cent to 8 per cent.

“India is the rising star on the list of most attractive investment markets despite a slightly lower share of the votes,” PwC said, adding it surpassed Japan last year and now it has overtaken the UK, which suffers from continuing uncertainty regarding Brexit. It also said that India has always been the most buoyant territory in terms of CEO revenue confidence.

On overall confidence, the survey said nearly 30 per cent of business leaders believe global economic growth would decline in the next 12 months, approximately six times the level of 5 per cent last year to make it a record jump in pessimism. This is in sharp contrast to a record jump on optimism about global economic growth from 29 per cent to 57 per cent last year. This has now fallen to 42 per cent.

North American CEOs saw the biggest dip in optimism. PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz said the CEOs’ views of the global economy mirror the major economic outlooks being adjusted downward.

With the rise of trade tensions and protectionism, it stands to reason that confidence is waning, he said while releasing the survey. Confidence in short term revenue growth has also fallen sharply with only 35 per cent saying they are very confident of their own company’s growth prospects over the next 12 months.

The survey also found that 85 per cent of CEOs believe that Artificial Intelligence would dramatically change their business over the next five years. Nearly two-third view AI as something that would have a larger impact than the Internet.