The Washington Post reports that fears are rising about the state of the world's biggest economies, with China posting its worst annual growth in decades and the United States injecting more uncertainty with tariffs and a lengthy government shutdown. China reported Monday that its economy expanded by 6.6 percent last year — a figure that would be good for many countries but represents the slowest growth for China in 28 years. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its expectations for the global economy, highlighting sharp declines in Europe and warning that the risks of a major slowdown have increased. The pair of announcements came as top executives and world leaders gathered in this ritzy ski resort town for the annual World Economic Forum. In contrast to a year ago — when President Trump and other world leaders talked about global prosperity — this year attendees expressed worry that the United States was undermining its own economy, and the rest of the world's, via a trade war and the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history.
CNN reports that Rising populism, policy uncertainty and trade conflicts have led to a sharp drop in confidence among global CEOs. The share of chief executives who think the global economy will slow over the next year has jumped to nearly 30% from 5% in 2018, according to a survey of 1,300 top business leaders by audit giant PwC. The wave of pessimism extends to company earnings. Just 35% of CEOs said they are "very confident" about their growth prospects over the next 12 months, a sharp decline from 42% last year. "CEOs' views of the global economy mirror the major economic outlooks, which are adjusting their forecasts downward in 2019," Bob Moritz, global chairman at PwC, said in a statement. "With the rise of trade tension and protectionism it stands to reason that confidence is waning." The report was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where chief executives rub shoulders with central bankers, politicians and regulators. One major topic of discussion this year is the global economic slowdown and its implications for companies and governments.