According to participants in a March McKinsey worldwide poll on economic circumstances, inflation and geopolitical instability pose the greatest risks to economic growth. Nearly no one now considers the COVID-19 pandemic to be a source of macroeconomic risk.

Even Greater China respondents, who have expressed disproportionate worries about the economic repercussions of the epidemic, perceive it as having a significantly lower risk than it did last quarter.

During March, the level of economic optimism peaked and then decreased.

Early in March, respondents expressed more optimistic opinions of the world economy than they had in previous quarters. 40% of respondents claimed that the preceding six months had shown an improvement in world economic circumstances. Only 28% predicted that the world’s conditions would worsen in the months to come, while 45% anticipated an improvement.

However, that optimism had diminished by the end of the month. Although still more upbeat than they had been in the previous quarter, respondents were found to be much less optimistic about current global conditions and the prospects for the global economy than they had been in early March.

Respondents’ assessment on the global economy had cooled by late March after reflecting their most optimistic views in many quarters. 

In March, respondents’ excitement for their home economies increased before declining. In India, this shift in attitude was stark: in a study conducted in late March, 46% of respondents believed their homes were becoming better, down from 66% earlier in the month.

North American and developing-market respondents show a decline in optimism between surveys, and they are currently more pessimistic than they were in December 2022.

have consistently expressed concerns about global instability when questioned about hazards that extend beyond the boundaries of their own nations. Two-thirds in early March and a comparable percentage in the late March poll named it a danger to the global to global economy, both percentages gradually rising since September 2022.

Comparatively, to the 54–59% who stated the same in the previous four quarters, 72% of respondents to the late March poll indicate that the epidemic has little to no impact on corporate planning and decision-making.