Middle East business confidence hits near-3 year high

Latest Global Economic Conditions Survey shows regional confidence rises to highest since Q2 2015
By Staff writer
Thu 26 Apr 2018 01:59 PM

Business confidence in the Middle East rebounded to its highest level for nearly three years, according to a new survey.

The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants found confidence at its highest since the second quarter of 2015.

Globally, the survey showed that economic confidence is at its highest level in years, with strong growth since the start of 2017.

"Economies in the Middle East have benefited from rising oil prices along with an improving global outlook," said Lindsay Degouve de Nuncques, head of ACCA Middle East.

"The UAE in particular has enjoyed an increase in non-oil exports and increased spending ahead of the 2020 World Expo. The rise in confidence is encouraging given the country introduced VAT this year, providing further economic stimulus."

She said that in Saudi Arabia, the government is making great strides in realising Vision 2030 by further embracing economic reforms, including the introduction of VAT and the recent push to open up and include more women in the workforce, further promoting a diverse and inclusive economy.

"With economic diversification, reform and further fiscal solidarity across the region, the increase in sentiment provides further encouragement for businesses and finance professionals,” she added.

Hanadi Khalife, director, MEA & India Operations, Institute of Management Accountants, said: "Regional governments are investing heavily in driving innovation, new technology and creating job opportunities for current and future generations. The management accountancy industry is one of the sectors that is providing exciting opportunities for successful careers and we look forward to seeing continued growth in confidence and economic development within the region.”

The survey said the biggest concern on a global level is the potential for a full-blown trade war between US and China. While initial measures taken are not sufficient to disrupt either economy, an escalation could have global effects for their many regional trade partners, it noted.

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