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Majority of UAE CEOs positive about next 12 months

Majority of UAE CEOs positive about next 12 months

A new survey has revealed positive sentiment around new investment and business conditions for the year ahead

The majority of UAE CEOs are feeling positive about business conditions for the coming year, according to a new report.

The face-to-face business barometer survey conducted by Oxford Business Group (OBG) revealed high confidence levels among top executives in the country despite a challenging economic environment.

It found three quarters of participants were likely or very likely to make a significant capital investment over the coming year.

Meanwhile, 82 per cent said they had positive or very positive expectations for business conditions over the next 12 months.

“The major reforms to the UAE’s subsidy system and the imminent introduction of a GCC-wide value-added tax come at a time when the private sector is already feeling the pinch, and yet most of the CEOs we spoke to remain positive or very positive about local business conditions,” said OBG’s editor-in-chief and managing editor for the Middle East, Oliver Cornock.

“I think we can draw two important conclusions from this; first, it speaks of the underlying, long-term confidence CEOs have in the UAE; and, perhaps more importantly, it underlines the identified, but as-yet-unrealised potential that the country offers.”

The wider survey revealed that Dubai based companies were slightly more positive than those in Abu Dhabi or Sharjah.

CEOs from the banking and capital markets, construction and real estate, health, education and ICT sectors were particularly well represented among those with a positive outlook.

Beyond commodity price fluctuations, CEOs in the country were found to be most worried about regional security (75 per cent), the opening up of Iran (40 per cent), currency volatility (15 per cent) and the slowdown of China (11 per cent)

Nearly half of respondents (46 per cent) also described accessing credit as difficult or very difficult, suggesting tightening in the banking sector.

OBG did not specify how many CEOs participated in the survey but said 88 per cent were from private companies, 51 per cent were from international companies and 31 per cent were from local companies.

In terms of emirate split, 67 per cent were in Dubai, 23 per cent were in Abu Dhabi and 9 per cent were in Sharjah.

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