"The fears of a global economic meltdown have receded and CEOs are more upbeat about their prospects," said Chris Clark, CEO and senior partner of PwC, said in a statement.

With their worst fears of a prolonged recession over, CEOs worldwide are now confident about growth bouncing back, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in its annual global survey here.

The survey found that 81 per cent of CEOs worldwide were confident about growth for the next 12 months. Only 19 per cent were pessimistic about the return of growth. Thirteen per cent CEOs went on to say that the global recovery has actually begun.

But amazingly 67 per cents CEOs in China said that the recovery actually began in 2009 itself.

“The fears of a global economic meltdown have receded and CEOs are more upbeat about their prospects,” said Chris Clark, CEO and senior partner of PwC, said in a statement here Wednesday.

“However CEO confidence is tempered by the slow pace of recovery and the fragile state of the economy,” he said.

The survey said the rising confidence is reflected in proposed fresh recruitments, with nearly 40 per cent of CEOs saying they will increase their staffing this year.

In Canada and Asia Pacific, about half of CEOs are looking to increase employment in 2010, and this figure jumps to over 60 per cent in Brazil.

On the other hand, only 25 per cent CEOs said they might cut jobs over the next year, down half from those who cut staff in the past 12 months, the survey said.

As reflected by the much better performance of the Canadian economy as compared to other G8 economies, the survey found Canadian CEOs much more optimistic about short- and long-term growth than their counterparts elsewhere.

“Canadian CEOs are more optimistic than their peers in other developed nations, as many of them managed through the recession while keeping an eye to the investments needed to sustain their organisations over the longer term,” Clark said.

As against 81 per cent CEOs worldwide, 87 per cent CEOs in Canada said they were confident about future prospects.

It was the 13th Annual Global CEO Survey which involved 1,198 interviews with CEOs from 52 countries.

PwC said 535 interviews were conducted in Europe, 289 in Asia Pacific, 167 in Latin America, 139 in North America, and 68 in the Middle East and Africa.

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