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CFO Insights: 2018 Q4 CFO Signals Survey Results: Tariff and gridlock expectations stoke recession fears

Published on: Jan 10, 2019

Similar to Q4 2016, this quarter’s findings show that CFOs’ views are heavily influenced by their perceptions of election outcomes. After the 2016 elections, for example, CFOs’ already-positive sentiment carried over to the post-election period. Citing optimism about the prospects for lower taxes, lower health care costs, and less regulation, CFOs were bullish on the North American economy, and US CFOs indicated their highest own-company optimism in two years.

Much has happened since then. Among the more important developments for business: taxes and regulation have been reduced, interest rates and government spending have risen, and trade policy has shifted. Meanwhile, the last two years have seen strong economic growth, mostly soaring stock markets, and record-low unemployment – and strong optimism and expectations among CFOs.

But despite strong economic performance, CFOs have recently begun to voice doubts about future global economic growth – fueled by worries about geopolitics, US political turmoil, and trade policy. And with US midterm elections yielding a split Congress, those concerns have been joined in Q4 2018 by worries over legislative gridlock – especially in the event of a recession.


This publication was released by our US firm.


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