Nobody likes predicting economic growth more than CEOs. Growth means increased revenue, increased profit and increased hope. So it’s no surprise to hear that most CEOs in the region are forecasting economic growth of between 3-5 percent this year. At least in public.In private, the story is different. Early optimism in January is already turning to concern. At the end of January, the UK became the last of the G7 nations to officially come out of recession, reporting 0.1 percent growth. Hardly time to celebrate, given that even the pessimists were expecting an increase of 0.4 percent. With the IMF now suggesting just 1.3 percent growth for 2010 in the UK, 1.5 percent in Germany and 1.4 percent in France, Europe’s outlook is far from rosy. Across the pond, US president Barack Obama is staring at a $1.3 trillion deficit and a three year domestic spending freeze.
So where does the magical 3-5 percent come from in this region? As one top CEO told me: “that’s what we’re hoping for. But it doesn’t look so hopeful anymore.” Many CEOs are now taking a wait and see approach. They are hoping that the forecasts made at end of 2009 are accurate and the revenues return in Q1. But most of them, when pressed, will say the same three words: roll on Q2.Claire Ferris-Lay is the deputy editor of CEO Middle East.