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Recession worries executives more than extreme weather, survey finds 

Recession, inflation and energy supply shortages are the top three risks identified in a survey of executives in Australia and New Zealand, conducted in collaboration with insurer Zurich. 

Extreme weather and household debt came in as the fourth and fifth most pressing risks.  

The Executive Opinion Survey polled more than 11,000 business leaders from 110 countries on the key risks they believe pose a threat to their nation over the next two years. 

Economic downturn ranked as the top risk in nine out of 10 regions, and in 13 G20 countries. Inflation was among the top-three risks in all regions, and energy supply shortages among the top-five risks in all regions. 

Extreme weather events such as floods and storms was a top-five risk in only three regions.  

Zurich Australia & New Zealand CEO Justin Delaney says it is unsurprising to see economic threats causing the most concern.  

“Increasingly interconnected economic and societal risks were perceived as the biggest concerns across the G20 with a backdrop of escalating global political tensions and persistent inflation in many major economies,” he said. 

Across the G20, erosion of social cohesion and wellbeing was identified as a top-five risk factor, while technological risks, including threats relating to cyber and artificial intelligence (AI), appeared only three times in the G20 top-five rankings.  

Household debt ranked much lower globally, as the 20th most pressing risk versus fifth locally. 

Other concerns that ranked higher in Australia and New Zealand than globally were Adverse outcomes of bio-engineering technologies (19th-ranked risk locally versus 35th globally) and Earthquakes/volcanoes (16th versus 30th globally). 

However, local executives were less worried than their global peers about Interstate armed conflict (31st-ranked risk locally versus 11 globally), Illicit economic activity (36 versus 19 globally), and Misinformation and disinformation (23rd versus 14th globally).