Gulf executives mostly positive about 2019 - survey
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Gulf executives mostly positive about 2019 – survey

Gulf executives mostly positive about 2019 – survey

Oxford Business Group said rising oil prices had improved the outlook of most executives


The majority of executives in the Gulf region are positive or very positive about business conditions in 2019, according to a new survey.

Oxford Business Group (OBG) said the 900 c-suite executives it questioned were largely upbeat on their outlook for the coming 12 months, with only 16 per cent negative or very negative.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) respondents said they were likely or very likely to make a significant capital investment over the next year despite facing higher borrowing costs.

While repsondnets were also seen to be optimistic about the local tax environment, with 87 per cent describing it as competitive or very competitive and the level of transparency for conducting business (70 per cent high or very high).

Four in 10 executives surveyed said their business was less than 40 per cent driven by government spending and 15 per cent said it was 80 per cent driven.

In terms of concerns, 70 per cent cited political volatility as most likely to impact the market’s economy in the short to medium term, ahead of issues like Chinese demand and US Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

While, leaders identified leadership (23 per cent), engineering (18 per cent, research and development (14 per cent and computer tech (10 per cent) as the most in demand skills.

OBG managing editor Oliver Cornock said higher and more stable oil prices had lifted confidence in the Gulf countries, which were under pressure to implement reforms.

“It is essential, though, that the often-painful reforms to policies such as subsidies are not reversed,” he added. “That is the fear of some analysts, not least because they impact the nationals who can least afford it almost by default,” he added.

“The introduction of a goods and services value-added tax (VAT) has been partially rolled out in the region, and by and large passed off uneventfully. However, this is an ongoing process, and even the more diverse economies have much to do in terms of varying their revenue generation.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently raised its forecast for Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf oil exporters but lowered its expectations for global growth.

Read: IMF raises Saudi growth forecast but lowers MENA, global expectations


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