CEOs in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), including Romania, are now looking to markets closer to home for potential expansion and growth opportunities, according to the CEO Survey 2022 for the CEE region. Germany has increased its lead at the top of key markets list by 10 percentage points since the 2021 survey, with 38% of CEE business leaders mentioning it.
The CEE-level analysis shows that the US has slipped four percentage points from 23% in 2021 and China is down from 18% last year to 12% in 2022. Within the CEE region, CEOs indicated an increased focus for their future growth on Russia, which joins the UK on 11%.
“Targeting markets closer to home can offer companies more secure prospects for growth, as disruptions in supply chains caused by pandemic restrictions have hampered global operations over the past two years. But executives in Romania see opportunities for growth in both nearby and faraway markets. Thus, compared to last year, the importance of the United States and China has increased for Romanian companies, along with some new European markets: Italy, Austria and Moldova”, said Dinu Bumbăcea, Country Managing Partner PwC Romania.
Germany remains the top growth opportunity market for Romanian CEOs, as mentioned by 39% of the respondents. The US retains second place after being mentioned by 19% of Romanian respondents. That is an increase of three percentage points since the 2021 survey. China and France are in joint third place (both mentioned by 14% of respondents), followed by Italy (12%), Austria and Moldova (both on 11%).
More confidence in own companies’ growth prospects than in economic growth
As the pandemic persists, CEE CEOs are more cautiously optimistic regarding the global economic outlook, with 68% expecting global GDP growth to improve over the next year, compared to 77% of their global peers.
They are, however, more optimistic about their own companies’ earnings performance, with 84% expressing confidence in their growth prospects over the next 12 months (compared to 85% globally).
The pandemic and macroeconomic volatility top the agenda
Health risks are the most common business prospects concern for CEE CEOs, with 53% of respondents mentioning them, followed by macroeconomic volatility, including fluctuating GDP growth, inflation and unemployment (48%), and cybersecurity (40%).
Globally, cyberthreats have become the most common concern, with 49% of CEOs putting them at the top of the list, followed closely by the global health situation (48%) and macroeconomic volatility (43%).
The CEO Survey 2022 was conducted at the end of last year to explore the views of 4,500 executives from around the world, including Romania. The full CEO Survey 2022 report for Romania will be published in the near future.