A measure of CEO confidence took a tumble in the third quarter, according to two organizations which compile the quarterly benchmark.

The Conference Board and PwC Measure of CEO Confidence, which had increased to 62 in the second quarter, dropped down to 54 in third quarter, they said, noting that a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses.

“CEO confidence declined in the third quarter as increasing uncertainty about the short-term outlook prevailed,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement announcing the result.

“Expectations for growth in both India and Brazil deteriorated significantly, she added.

The CEOs’ outlooks for the United States, Japan and China, although less upbeat than in the second quarter, remained positive, she said.

CEOs were also more positive in their assessment of current economic conditions in Europe than last quarter.

Overall, The Conference Board and PwC provided the following general observations:

  • CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions declined considerably.

Only 33 percent claim conditions are better compared to six months ago, down from 60 percent in the second quarter.

  • Business leaders are also less positive about conditions in their own industries.

Approximately 32 percent say conditions in their own industries have improved, down from 40 percent last quarter.

  • CEOs’ short-term outlook also retreated from last quarter.

Currently, 42 percent of business leaders expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, down from 60 percent in the second quarter.

Expectations for their own industries are also more tepid, with just 34 percent of CEOs anticipating an improvement in conditions in the months ahead, down from 53 percent last quarter.

Survey results were fielded from mid-August to mid-September

Separately, The Conference Board announced the expansion of the CEO Confidence Survey, which it has fielded quarterly among its member companies since 1976. With PwC US, the survey’s reach will now extend to additional Fortune 1000 CEOs and will include a deeper analysis of how prevailing and expected economic conditions impact CEO decision-making in the United States, the announcement said.

The Conference Board describes itself as a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest.

Source: CEO Confidence Survey 3rd Quarter 2013, The Conference Board