The survey was conducted on the first day of the conference, in the morning of 18th September. Economic uncertainty was clearly demonstrated by the following four results:
1. Are you bearish/bullish on equities for 2008?
- 49.4% bullish
- 50.6% bearish
2. Will the US dollar be above or below 1.35 euros on average over the year?
- 56.5% above
- 43.5% below
3. By this time next year, will the credit crunch be a distant memory or an ongoing worry?
- 45.9% distant memory
- 54.1% ongoing worry
4. Will global M&A activity increase or decrease in 2008 compared with 2007?
- 49.4% increase
- 50.6% decrease
Where treasurers did agree however, was in relation to economic growth between Europe and the US, where 89% predicted that Europe would grow the fastest. Another area of agreement was in US politics, where 68% backed Hillary Clinton to be the next US president.
Interestingly, when asked whether they expected the US Federal Reserve to raise or lower interest rates, over 35% of treasurers expected rates to be cut. Only hours later, interest rates were cut to 4.75% in a move largely unpredicted by the wider financial community.
âWith the treasurers of major corporations present, this survey is an interesting reflection of the mood of European companies,â said Leslie Holstrom, Global Head of Product at EuroFinance. âThis uncertainty on such fundamental economic issues will have an inevitable impact on the confidence and aggressiveness of European corporates over the next 12 months."