Global recession top concern among APAC business leaders: Survey

Gantry cranes stand at the Port of Singapore in Singapore, on Friday, July 12, 2019.Ore Huiying | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesBusiness decision-makers in Asia Pacific cite the prospect of a global recession and the impact of trade tariffs as the biggest risks for their companies in the next six to 12 months, according to a survey from J.P. Morgan.Around 30% of chief financial officers and group treasurers in the region belonging to 130 global companies said they felt a potential global recession posed the biggest risk to their businesses in a poll conducted at the 2019 J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific CFO and Treasurers Forum in Shanghai.The impact of global trade tariffs was a top concern for about 27% of the respondents, while 24% said they were worried about a slowdown in emerging markets, 10% revealed cyber threats were a primary worry and 9% pointed to Brexit and the future of the eurozone.”The concerns over the impact of headwinds in the global macro environment are front and center in the minds of the top CFOs and treasurers of global corporations,” Oliver Brinkmann, head of corporate banking for Asia Pacific at J.P. Morgan, said in a statement.”While J.P. Morgan’s view is not for a recession, growth is expected to slow in the coming quarters, with global growth for 2019 forecast at 2.7 percent and dipping to 2.5 percent in 2020,” he wrote.Experts have said that the chances of another recession happening are “uncomfortably high” in the next 12 to 18 months despite actions from policymakers to try and reverse course. In fact, the International Monetary Fund recently made a downward revision to its global growth outlook for 2019 and 2020 and said growth in major Asian economies is set to slow more than expected.The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has roiled global markets and created a lot of uncertainty for businesses in part due to disruptions in global supply chains. Even though some progress has been made recently, U.S. and Chinese tariffs on each other’s imports still remain. Elsewhere, the United Kingdom’s scheduled departure from the European Union looks set to be delayed again, while in China, the economy is slowing down.In the J.P. Morgan survey, 34% said they were responding to global supply chain disruptions by exploring pricing options with suppliers while 32% revealed they are currently sourcing for alternative suppliers.About 15% said they were shifting production from China to other countries. Experts have previously said that countries like Vietnam could be a big winner of the U.S.-China trade dispute if businesses shift their factories out of the world’s second-largest economy.”We still see growth opportunities especially in emerging Asia but the geopolitical events are somewhat clouding sentiment,” Brinkmann said.

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