Actually, 2022 should have been the year of recovery after the pandemic.

Above all, however, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences abruptly destroyed these hopes in many countries.

So what will the new year bring?

Not a lot of good, judging by the CEOs of major corporations around the world.

According to a recent survey, 2023 could be a year in which the global economy faces another difficult year, mainly due to high inflation and geopolitical conflicts.

Sven Astheimer

Responsible editor for corporate reporting.

  • Follow I follow

For more than a quarter of a century, management consultancy PwC has regularly had leading managers questioned about their expectations.

Around 4,500 decision-makers from 71 countries took part this year.

The results were presented on Monday evening at the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Accordingly, the mood has changed completely within a year.

Today, 73 percent of those surveyed assume that global economic growth will decline.

A year ago, only about one in seven managers was so pessimistic.

In contrast, today only 18 percent believe in an increase in growth figures (previous year: 77 percent).

The study also shows that German managers are particularly pessimistic.

Here, four out of five respondents expect tougher times.

The German economy is more involved in world trade and globalization than most others.

German CEOs see geopolitical conflicts and cyber risks as threats to growth and prosperity to a much greater extent than the international average.

On the other hand, health risks and social inequality are perceived more as a threat in other countries.

“Structural and Systemic Problems”

In the short term, managers' reaction to the challenge is clear: nine out of ten respondents in Germany want to reduce operating costs, and just as many want to pass on the high cost increases in the form of higher prices or have already done so.

In response to past supply chain issues, 88 percent are determined to expand their network of suppliers.

Perhaps the tough immediate measures are fueling hope for an improvement soon: at least 59 percent of German managers are very confident that their company will grow in the next three years.

Internationally, the value is slightly lower.

"We are all facing structural and systemic problems," comments Petra Justenhoven on the current situation.

For the spokeswoman for the management of PwC Germany, in addition to the acute crisis measures, the use of modern technologies is a key to future growth.

In Germany, 86 percent of managers stated that they wanted to increase investments in automation this year, despite all the difficulties.

Almost three quarters also want to invest in technologies such as artificial intelligence.

The attractiveness of Germany as a business location has recently been the subject of much debate because, for example, the high energy costs could divert investments abroad and other countries such as the USA have set up huge subsidy programs for future technologies.

Apparently, these concerns are not shared abroad at the moment.

Around 18 percent of managers stated that Germany is an important growth market for them – just as much as in the previous year.

It was only higher for the USA (40 percent) and China, which, however, lost 4 points to 23 percent compared to the previous year.

Beijing's rigid Covid policy and concerns about an escalation in the conflict over Taiwan are also increasingly worrying business leaders.

The United Kingdom, which is struggling with many challenges after leaving the EU, rose slightly in the survey and caught up with Germany.