Confidence about near-term sales growth among chief executives around the world has fallen to its lowest level in six years, according to the annual PwC survey released in Davos. As Laura Frykberg reports, it's all down to the slowdown in China and the slump in oil prices.
Day One of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the corporate world received a chilly reception: criticised by actor Leonardo Dicaprio, for putting profit before protecting the planet.
"We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries to determine the future of humanity," DiCaprio said. "Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied and even covered up the evidence of our changing climate."
If that attack didn't hurt, other factors have led to a cooling of business confidence in near-term sales growth. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers annual CEO survey, it's at its lowest level in years. Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Dennis Nally explained:
"The trend was getting worse and worse as we conducted the results through December. I've got to believe if we would have done the survey in the first two weeks of January, given the environment that exists today, it would even be worse."
Around a quarter of those asked think things will improve in 2016, while another quarter think the opposite. Charles Stanley's Chief Economist Jeremy Batstone-Carr says plunging commodity prices are partly to blame.
"It's no surprise to me in the slightest that the mood in Davos is negative," Batstone-Carr said, "because senior company executives are seeing their order books dwindle at just the wrong time in the cycle."
There is a little cheer for CEO's in India though -- bucking the downbeat mood, confidence there grew by two percent.