SINGAPORE (Oct 24): The risk of a global downturn is high, given the headwinds coming from slowing economic activity, the unresolved trade conflict between the US and China, and geopolitical tensions around the globe.

This weak sentiment was reflected among chief financial officers (CFOs) and group treasurers, who participated in a survey conducted at the 2019 JP Morgan Asia Pacific CFO and Treasurers Forum in Shanghai earlier this month.

According to the survey, the prospect of a global recession is flagged as the “top risk” for their business in the next six to 12 months.

Nearly a third (30 %) of the more than 150 respondents from 130 global corporations ranked a potential global recession as the top risk to business.

This is followed by 27% expressing caution over the impact of global trade tariffs and 24% over an emerging markets slowdown.

Concerns over cyber security (10%) and the outcome of Brexit (9%) rounded out the top five risk concerns.

To mitigate global supply chain disruptions, 34% of respondents said they exploring pricing options with suppliers, followed closely by 32% of respondents who indicate they are currently sourcing alternative suppliers.

About 15% said they were shifting production from China to other countries, the survey said.

“Clearly, the concerns over the impact of headwinds in the global macro environment are front and centre in the minds of the top CFOs and treasurers of global corporations,” says Oliver Brinkmann, head of corporate banking, Asia Pacific, JP Morgan in an Oct 23 statement.

While JP Morgan does not forecast a recession ahead, Brinkmann says growth is expected to slow in the coming quarters, with global growth for 2019 forecast at 2.7% and dipping to 2.5% in 2020.

“We still see growth opportunities especially in emerging Asia but the geopolitical events are somewhat clouding sentiment,” he says.