Worldwide business risks increased sharply in the first quarter of 2005, according to new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit, based on a survey of international risk managers

The findings, which are taken from the Economist Intelligence Unit's new Corporate Risk Barometer, indicate that business risk increased most significantly in the US, the Middle East and Russia. The findings show firms believe business risks in the US are increasing more rapidly than in Europe or Japan.

The Corporate Risk Barometer, which was developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and is sponsored by ACE Insurance, Cisco, Deutsche Bank and IBM, provides insights into what risk managers see as the most important risk issues and challenges around the world. The findings are based on a survey of 137 risk managers, approximately half of them from financial services companies.

Respondents viewed the most significant issues facing business today as reputational risk and regulatory risk. The third most significant threat is IT network risk.