The UK is likely to suffer from a double-dip recession, according to a survey of chief financial officers.
Predictions of another economic crisis have soared to 54 percent, with uncertainty seen as another significant risk for business in 2012, according to the latest Deloitte CFO survey.
The finance chiefs of the UK's largest businesses see a break-up of the euro as posing the biggest single risk to their companies.
"CFOs are now working on the assumption that Britain will fall back into recession. They see a 54 percent chance of the UK suffering a double dip, up from just 27 percent a year ago," said Deloitte chief economist, Ian Stewart.
"Moreover, financial stress is already affecting big UK corporates, with CFOs reporting the sharpest decline in credit availability since the third quarter of 2008."
CFOs believe that a collapse of the euro would have a severe effect on UK businesses, causing a new credit crunch and driving major swings in asset prices and exchange rates, the data shows.
Much like late 2008, the top priorities for big companies are cost control and cash flow.
One CFO summed up the mood: "Everyone is waiting for something very bad to happen," he said.
But despite the bleak outlook, large UK businesses believe that troubled times also create growth opportunities.
"While CFOs see fewer market opportunities than they did three years ago in the early stages of the recession, almost half believe their business can profit from the current economic environment," said Stewart.
The findings supported earlier predictions from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) which said Britain would succumb to a "modest to severe recession".
"The UK will probably hit a temporary recession - this could well be happening right now," said Douglas McWilliams, CEBR's chief executive.
The CEBR findings also said that a break-up of the euro will commence in 2012 and is now a near-certainty, with a 60 percent chance of one or more countries predicted to leave the eurozone within the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, economic confidence has plummeted to a three-year low, according to a separate study conducted by Lloyds Bank.
The bank's survey suggested individual company prospects had eroded in December, with over half of surveyed companies indicating that they are now more pessimistic about prospects.
Many businesses based in the Midlands and Wales are particularly nervous.
The survey estimates that there is now a 75 percent chance of a recession.
"Our survey seems to indicate that companies in the UK are bracing themselves for a period of stagnant or even negative growth," said Trevor Williams, Lloyd's chief economist.
Stewart said the majority of CFOs were "now working on the assumption that Britain will fall back into recession".
Deloitte said they expected weak trading conditions to last for more than a year.
"Those pinning their hopes for growth on a sharp increase in corporate spending in the UK this year may be disappointed. On balance, CFOs expect corporate hiring, investment and discretionary spending to contract in 2012," said Stewart.