Bosses Optimism Takes A Dive
US business optimism dropped to its lowest level in three years according to the latest CFO Global Business Outlook survey from Duke University. A majority (53%) of CFOs (chief financial officers) expect a recession to start before the next US presidential election.
Outside the US, 81% of African CFOs believe a recession will have begun in their countries before Q3 2020, as do 68% of Canadian, 72% Asian, 65% Latin American and 69% of European CFOs.
There are many surveys carried out and most should be taken with a pinch of salt as they are biased by a CEOs normal duty of optimism for shareholders’ sakes. But this one is different because it is taken from a CFO’s perspective of a balance sheet. And as we all know, numbers never lie!
The survey also shows that CFOs are depressed about their own companies prospects. The key factors are economic uncertainty followed by employing and retaining qualified staff; skilled worker shortages have become increasingly prevalent in engineering, IT, software coding, sales(!), mechanics and machine operators and especially medical technicians. Apparently, there is even a shortage of haulage drivers. The other area of concern was the low level of interest rates. So the Fed’s 25 basis point cut yesterday won’t have helped CFOs sleep better at night! So next time you bump into your despondent finance officer, give them a hug!