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Global leaders growing optimistic about world economy, poll shows

Posting in Government

We're well into the new year. And if we consider the relatively sunny results of a fresh poll of 390 world leaders form the spheres of government, business, and academia, we just might have a reason to feel hopeful about where the global economy is headed.

The Global Confidence Index for the first quarter of 2013, conducted by the World Economic Forum's Risk Response Network and Global Agenda Councils, was just released today, slightly ahead of the high-profile World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from January 23-27. And it offers a refreshing sense of optimism--at least among top executives, diplomats, and thinkers.

Some notable points from the new study:

  • The Economic Confidence Index rose to 0.43 from 0.38 on a scale from 0 to 1
  • The number of respondents with either a “not confident” or “not at all confident” outlook for the global economy in 2013 fell to 43% from 56%
  • The percentage of optimists who felt “confident” or “very confident” about the global economy increased to 23% from 17%
  • The percentage of respondents who believed that a financial shock was probable over the next 12 months fell to a (slim) minority: 48%. This is five percentage points lower than a quarter ago and 20 points down from half a year ago.

Looking at these stats in the context of previous indices, a picture of hope emerges. The 2013 first-quarter survey illustrates the second highest level of economic confidence among respondents yet, since the WEF created the index a full seven quarters ago. Worries of a major economic crisis dropped to the lowest level to date.

Still, there were signs of "meh" feelings among many respondents, even if they weren't pessimistic.  A full 34% -- slightly more than a third -- felt "neutral" about the global economy.

“The first Economic Confidence Index result of 2013 gives us some cause for optimism, but the figure is still in negative territory overall," Martina Gmür, Senior Director of the WEF’s Network of Global Agenda Councils, cautioned in a release. "We still need dynamic leadership to drive the economy ahead and overcome challenges.”

Hopefully, the 2,500 participants to gather at the WEF's annual meeting this week -- including nearly 50 heads of state or government leaders, along with 1,500-plus top business executives, will be able to come up with not only new, but also viable, solutions to do so.

Image: the sun rises over Davos, Switzerland. By Andy Mettler/World Economic Forum/Flickr

— By on January 21, 2013, 12:23 AM PST

Reena Jana

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Reena Jana has written for the New York Times, Wired, Harvard Business Review online, Fast Company, Architectural Record, Artforum, Time Out New York, Harper's Bazaar, and GQ. Previously, she was the innovation department editor at BusinessWeek. She holds degrees from Columbia University and Barnard College. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure