U.S. CEO Confidence Nears Five-Year High in Latest YPO Survey

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The YPO Global Pulse index of CEO sentiment for the United States bucked the broad global decline in confidence, rising 0.8 point in January to 65.0 from 64.2.

U.S. CEO Expectations 12 Months Hence

CEO confidence floated above a lofty 63.0 for the fifth straight quarter according to the latest YPO survey, as most economic signals turned green for the United States. - Alan Zafran

The YPO Global Pulse index of CEO sentiment for the United States bucked the broad global decline in confidence, rising 0.8 point in January to 65.0 from 64.2. The U.S. reading essentially matched its highest level (65.1) since the index began in July 2009 and was the highest among all regions of the world by more than 2 points.

“CEO confidence floated above a lofty 63.0 for the fifth straight quarter according to the latest YPO survey, as most economic signals turned green for the United States,” said Alan Zafran, managing director First Republic Investment Management and a member of YPO’s Global One Chapter. “Confidence got an additional boost over the fourth quarter as falling oil prices stimulated more consumer spending.”

Globally, confidence increases in net oil-importing economies largely compensated for the weakened optimism in oil exporters, leaving the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index only 0.7 point off its October 2014 reading at a still-optimistic 62.5. Canada was the biggest mover, losing nearly 7 points to land at 59.0, its lowest level since July 2013. Non-EU Europe registered the world’s lowest reading at 54.3, weighed down by Russia, whose index plunged to the dismal 30s. The European Union rose 1.2 points to 61.2, recovering some of the points lost in the previous quarter. Asia slipped 3.3 points to 62.2, its lowest level in over a year, on the back of tapering growth in China.

Key findings in the United States
Employment and investment confidence hit record levels. The YPO Global Pulse Employment Confidence Index for the United States rose 0.8 point to 62.1, a record high for this component of the index. Almost half (45%) of the CEOs surveyed said they planned to increase headcounts by at least 10% in 2015.The fixed investment component also reached a new peak, climbing 1.2 points to 63.3, with 47% of survey participants expecting to step up capital spending this year. Sales confidence was unchanged at 71.2, near the all-time high of 71.4 that was recorded in July 2014. Even so, sales confidence continues to significantly lead employment and investment confidence by the wide gap that has persisted since January 2010. All three components of the U.S index were the highest of any region in the world in the January survey.

Stephen Slifer, YPO Global Pulse economic adviser and chief economist at NumberNomics, said, “Rising CEO confidence in the U.S. economy is well placed. The plunge in oil prices, continued low interest rates and record levels of personal net worth all stimulate consumer spending, which will provide a strong tailwind for economic growth in 2015.”

YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index
The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of January, gathered answers from 2,790 chief executive officers across the globe, including 1,196 in the United States. Visit http://www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world.

About YPO
YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 22,000 peers and their families in more than 125 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialized networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit http://www.ypo.org.

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