The Economic and Financial Scenario, Cernobbio 2024: “Reduced conflict impact on companies’ business”

The Economic and Financial Scenario Cernobbio 2024 Reduced conflict impact

(Finance) – Reduced impact of conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas on companies’ business. Positive estimates in terms of performance, turnover growth and increase in staff. This is the sentiment of the representatives of the business community participating in Cernobbio to the thirty-fifth edition of annual workshop “The scenario of Economics and Finance”, called to express their opinion on the prospects of their companies in the global economy. Extremely relevant economic insights emerge from the polling, which confirm what has already been highlighted with the publication of the first 2024 quarterly survey of the TEHA Club Economic Indicator. The outlook remains reasonably positive for 2024 and 2025.

Ask yourself about effects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on the company’s business, participants highlighted a reduced impact (49.3%). Only 7.3% (down from 10.9% in 2023) of participants reported a very severe impact. The survey also analyzed theinfluence of the war between Israel and Hamas on the business of companies: over half of the participants (62.2%) declared a reduced impact on their activities.

Regarding the euro, you were asked to express your opinion on the exchange rate between the Dollar and the Euro in April 2025. According to 41.7% of the audience the ratio will remain unchanged, while for 32.1% of participants the exchange rate will be lower, therefore the Euro will be weaker. 22.6% of participants, however, expect a stronger Euro, and therefore a higher exchange rate than the current one.

Regarding theperformance of your company compared to competitors, 42.6% (down from 46% in 2023) of participants say they are performing better. 18.1% report performing much better, while 27.7% believe they are in line with their competitors. Only 8.5% say a worse trend.

There are positive opinions about the company revenue growth forecast in 2024: 69.3% of participants said they expected growth, of which 34.1% estimated an increase of more than 10%. Less than a quarter, 20.9%, expect stability. Only 7.7% hypothesize a decline in turnover.

Optimism also about employment forecasts in companies: almost half of those interviewed (47.8%, compared to 43.9% last year) expect a growth in the workforce. Among them, 15.2% estimate growth of more than 10%, while 32.6% estimate growth of less than 10%. More than a third (35.9%) expect staff stability. 15.2% (a slight increase compared to 9.7%) instead hypothesized a reduction in the workforce.

Furthermore, it remains – according to what emerges from report “The future of the European Single Market” again presented in the context of the 35th edition of the workshop “The Scenario of Economics and Finance” organized by The European House – Ambrosetti – a sense of confidence in the Single Market with greater conviction on the part of large companies; caution from SMEs who perceive the difficulties, linked to administrative complications and increased compliance costs, more than the opportunities.

In addition to differences in perception, the Single Market moves at different speeds depending on the sector. In some sectors of primary importance for the future of Europe, such as energy, transport and the financial sector, a true European Single Market does not yet exist. On the other hand, the overabundance of regulations, risk aversion and implementation difficulties contribute to increasing compliance costs and creating barriers.

A new development of the Single Market should be the priority of the next European Commission, simplifying the regulatory framework, creating new opportunities to finance major projects of European public interest through the market, and balancing risk prevention with the drive for innovation and competitiveness. The evolution of the Single Market will be fundamental to ensuring the sustainability of the European economy in the current context of overlapping global crises, economic competition and geopolitical tensions.

Regarding emerging technologies, first of all artificial intelligence, the interest is general and consolidated, so much so as to push towards significant investments. The European Union is positioning itself as a pioneer in the development of innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence but withAI Act recently passed risks self-limiting its investment potential. In fact, European companies fear that too rigorous regulation will hinder development and hinder global competitiveness, especially against technological giants such as the United States and China. The European Union – it is underlined in the report – should therefore consider not only the issue of security but also better support AI as a growth opportunity with financing initiatives to build a solid digital ecosystem, guaranteeing data sovereignty, cultivating skills on AI and aligning AI regulation with innovation. According to the EPRS, in fact, EU policies regulating automation and AI technologies have the potential to unlock a added value estimated at 206 billion euros per year for the European economy, i.e. a potential efficiency gain. By prioritizing these measures, the EU can strengthen its position as a global AI hub and avoid remaining a secondary player.

The report – the result of a work of listening to the priorities and experiences of European companies that The European House – Ambrosetti carried out between October 2023 and March 2024 through the TEHA Club and TEHA Club Europe communities and shared with the president Enrico Letta, EU Rapporteur on the Future of the Single Market, commissioned by the Presidency of the European Council – identifies two fundamental issues that European businesses are facing: regulatory and administrative burdens (including the lack of harmonization and the absence of standards in some sectors, as well as overabundance of often risk-averse regulations in others) and the need for greater investment in the productivity of the European Union to effectively address major systemic projects as well as to improve regional economic security and competitiveness on a global scale.