The business outlook across Asia for 2014 looks set for a positive trajectory, but there are a number of uncertainties that will have many business leaders watching over their shoulders. The latest Executive Outlook Survey 2014 from KellyOCG shows that while there is widespread agreement about continuing economic and business improvement, it is not unbridled optimism.
Global economic events and local Asian business sentiment are coalescing in 2014 to produce a whirlwind of possible scenarios for the world economy. There is no question that economic recovery is underway in the United States and some of the key economies in Europe, but 2014 has kicked off with renewed concerns about slowing Chinese growth and fears about debt and currency instability in emerging economies.
The end of 2013 was tinged with a tone of economic optimism, which has been dampened somewhat by events at the start of this year. Overall, global economies have proved remarkably resilient in emerging from the deepest downturn in a generation and seeing off a series of sovereign debt crises that could have derailed recovery.
But the memories of the 2008–09 economic recession are still fresh, and it does not take a great deal for nerves to fray. Hence the cautious optimism that is evident among Asia’s business leaders, and the anxiety that accompanies even slight bumps along the road to recovery.