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CEO confidence changed little in second quarter

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Confidence in the global economic outlook among chief executive officers remained roughly flat in the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index report.

The report records a 60.2 index score at the close of the second quarter, a modest 0.2 dip from the 60.4 score posted in the first quarter. In October 2012 and January 2013, YPO Global Pulse pegs CEO confidence levels at 59.0 and 61.3, respectively.

The report attributes the second quarter result to CEO expectations of a “moderate pace” of economic growth during the year ahead.

“Underlying the global number were sizeable movements at the regional and local levels, with rising confidence in developed markets offset by weakened confidence in emerging markets,” the report states.

CEO confidence in emerging markets in ASEAN nations — a 15-nation group comprising countries of Southeast Asia — dropped 5.2 points in the second quarter. The “Asian Tiger Cubs” (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand) fell 3.4 percent. The confidence score for BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) plummeted 7.6 points to a record low of 57.1.

“CEO confidence in Asia dropped to a record low for the 17-quarter [YPO Global Pulse] series, dragged down by decelerating growth in China and weakened confidence in emerging markets across the region,” the report states.

The only Asian markets that resisted a decline in CEO confidence levels were developed countries (including Japan), which rose to a new index high of 58.0.

The report adds the brightening economic outlook for the U.S. economy boosted the YPO Global Pulse Index to 62, the highest in a year. In the European Union, confidence rebounded 4.4 points.

The report pegs the CEO confidence for Africa at 63.9. The world’s “most optimistic region,” the score would have been higher if not for negative sentiment about South Africa.

Latin America received an index score of 55.5.

“Confidence in Latin America, weighted most heavily towards Brazil and Mexico, tumbled to its all-time low in the history of the Global Pulse,” the report states.