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CEOs Slightly More Confident On Economy

Economic confidence among CEOs in the United States has increased for the first time in more than a year, albeit by the smallest of margins. A four-quarter streak of declining confidence ended as economic confidence among U.S. CEOs inched up 0.5 points to 59.6 in Q1, according to the latest Global Pulse Index from the Young Presidents' Organization.

However, a new streak has emerged as U.S. CEOs’ economic confidence pales in comparison to that of European CEOs for the third consecutive quarter.

Two of the three key investment metrics in determining the YPO Global Pulse Index showed decline in the first quarter: fixed investment dropped by 1.5 points and employee count decreased by .6. Meanwhile, global sales confidence registered a .2 point bump.

Overall, the YPO Global Pulse Index increased .3 points from 58.0 in Q4 2015 to 58.3 in the first quarter of 2016. On a regional level, the U.S. trails only the European Union (61.6) and Asia (60.0) in economic confidence. The non-EU European region, Africa and Canada were the only three regions to register quarter-over-quarter changes greater than or equal to 1.5: non-EU jumped 4.0, Africa increased 2.2 and Canada moved up 1.5.  

The price of oil was a major factor in market and CEO confidence during the quarter as price fluctuations caused most equity markets to enter correction territory in the first half of Q1 and rebound in the second half. Of the five participating countries that exported the most crude oil in dollar terms in 2015, four of them reported higher confidence readings during the quarter: Saudi Arabia increased by 14.1, Nigeria by 8.9, Canada 1.6 and Russia .2.

The YPO Global Pulse Index surveys 24,000 CEOs based in 130 countries each quarter.