The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Survey: Economic Concerns Drive Geographic Shift

Companies increasing focus on North America and China.

Worries about the global economy are rising again, according to the first quarter 2015 CFO Signals report from Deloitte. As a result, respondents say their companies are shifting the geographic focus, with many looking to strengthen their North American markets.

Nearly 85 percent of respondent said their companies have made "at least one significant geographic shift," with roughly 40 percent saying that includes an increased focus on North American markets. Only 11 percent said they were decreasing their focus on North America.

But this renewed focus isn't translating into a vast increase of onshoring. More than 26 percent of the CFOs said they are increasing offshore operations, while only 12 percent were reshoring in North America.

China is also an attractive area of focus for respondents, with 27 percent of CFOs citing an increased focus on that country. More than a quarter of respondents said they were increasing their operational capacity in China.

Hesitation about Europe remains strong, with only 16 percent of respondents increasing their focus on the continent. More than a quarter noted a decreased focus, and nearly 35 percent said they were decreasing their currency exposure to the euro.

The European Union's economy continues to struggle, likely contributing to the desire to limit exposure there. Unemployment remains high – 11.3 percent in February, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. And inflation is expected to remain negative when March figures are finalized. Industrial and construction production, however, have remained relatively stable over the last few months.

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