Several high-profile companies are voicing concerns about the global economy. Executives at FedEx, UBS, and other major brands say it’s difficult to bring in a profit given the current global tensions.
Their top issues include the trade war between the U.S. and China and the growing uncertainty over Brexit. And for the first time in three years, the Japanese government downgraded their view of the economy, blaming the U.S.-China trade war.
And these concerns seem to be justified as one report found that companies generating more than half their sales overseas should see their revenue decline by 11.2 percent in the first quarter.
Major Companies See Their Revenue Drop
At a conference in London, Sergio Ermotti, the chief executive of UBS, said that businesses are currently in “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history.”
The bank had to cut $300 million in expenses after revenue at their investment bank plummeted. Ermotti added that investment banking conditions are the worst they’ve been in years.
Ermotti’s remarks closely resembled that of FedEx’s CFO Alan B. Graf, Jr. just a day earlier. Thanks to tough exchange rates and ongoing trade wars, the company’s international revenue have been lower than normal.
When presenting FedEx’s quarterly earnings report, Graf blamed “slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth” for FedEx’s drop in revenue. Samsung also projected sluggish growth due to a slowing economy and tensions over global trade.
These Fears Don’t Point to a Recession
These concerns even caused Fitch Ratings to cut its global growth forecast this week, dropping the global growth forecasts from 2.8 percent to 3.1 percent. But the firm did point out that a global recession did not seem to be on the horizon.
In fact, some international companies are doing well in spite of this economic uncertainty. For instance, the luxury retailer Hermes reported a 15 percent increase in profits over the past year. The company credited strong demand from customers in Asia as the reason for their continued growth.
But if other large companies continue to see their profits fall, then this could affect both their ability to spend and hire. According to Bryn Mawr Trust Chief Investment Officer Ernie Cecilia, this would affect negatively employment, wages, and the market.