Twice as many CEOs believe the global economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared to those polled last year.

But it’s a fragile optimism, which has only led to a small rise in confidence about business growth prospects in 2014. And many CEOs remain very worried about over-regulation and the ability of governments to tackle debt and deficit levels. Yet — for now — serious global risks have been averted and CEOs are thinking once again about growth.

But finding that growth has gotten tougher.
Some emerging economies are slowing down and it’s become increasingly clear that they’re diverging in their fortunes as each faces its own unique issues. At the same time, advanced economies appear to be on the mend, although they too face challenges. It’s clear that CEOs are struggling to interpret these signals, with many concerned about sluggish growth in both emerging and advanced economies.

So how are CEOs responding to the changing global footprint?
Nearly one third say their main opportunity for growth lies in existing markets, compared to just 14% who say the same for new geographic markets. Many leaders are also reviewing their portfolio of top overseas markets. This year CEOs see the US, Germany and the UK as more attractive than some of the BRICS markets, compared to last year. And they’re turning to newer markets to find growth as well — in particular Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand and Vietnam.

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