Economic disruption, including the languishing United States economy, the euro zone crisis and a slowing Chinese economy have hit the confidence of company chief executives in the Asia Pacific region.
The PricewaterhouseCooper's APEC 2012 survey found just 36% of chief executives questioned were 'very confident' of business growth over the next 12 months.
The survey comes as Asia Pacific leaders gather in Vladivostok in Russia for the annual APEC summit.
Among key issues, CEOs surveyed cited greater economic integration, and nearly half support removing trade barriers in the service sector.
The company bosses also want APEC leaders to harmonise regulations across the region, and more to encourage labour mobility and the free flow of investment.
Longer term sentiment was positive, with more than half of those surveyed confident about the next three to five years.