Confidence in global economy improves

A poll by the World Economic Forum (WEF) ahead of its annual Davos meeting showed that economic confidence ticked up

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The percentage of those fearing a major economic disruption for the year ahead fell to 48% in the WEF's Global Confidence Index for the first quarter of this year from 53% in the last quarter of 2012.

The Global Confidence Index polled 390 experts from international organizations, business, government and academia, asking them how confident they were regarding various issues on a scale from 0, or "not at all confident," to 1, or "very confident."

The index, which is calculated as an average of the responses, rose to 0.43 from 0.38, getting closer to the 0.5 mark that separates pessimistic territory from optimism. The improvement in confidence was most marked in North America.

“The first Economic Confidence Index result of 2013 gives us some cause for optimism, but the figure is still in negative territory overall. We still need dynamic leadership to drive the economy ahead and overcome challenges,” Martina Gmür, senior director of the Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils, said in a statement.

But trust in political leadership is falling slightly. Compared to the previous quarter, confidence in the global economy and in global cooperation increased, but it decreased marginally when it comes to global governance.

The biggest risk seen by participants for the next 12 months is that of geopolitical disruptions, listed by 49.7% of respondents, followed by that of economic and social disruptions, which got 47.9% and 45.9% of the responses.

However, fears of a major economic disruption were at the lowest level since the start of the index in September 2011.

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By region, North America had the highest proportion among the respondents, of 32.1%, followed by Europe with 31.5% and Asia with 19.5%.

Sub-Saharan Africa had 6.9%, the Middle East and North Africa had 5.6% and Latin America 4.4%.

The WEF released the data ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, which will take place between January 23 and January 27 under the name "Resilient Dynamism."