Even as oil prices have retreated from recent highs, a larger percentage of senior executives in U.S.-based multinationals now characterizes energy prices as a potential barrier to their companies' growth than did three months ago. A majority -- 59%-- sees energy prices as a barrier to growth, up sharply from 36%, reveals a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 133 CFOs and managing directors in large, multinational business.
That concern makes the executives less optimistic about the short-term outlook for both the U.S. and world economies. Just 50% are optimistic about the U.S. economy's prospects for the next 12 months, down from 62% three months ago. A slight majority -- 54%-- of the executives is optimistic about the world economy's prospects during the next year, but that's down from 59% three months ago.