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Wed 11 Nov 2009 06:23 AM

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69% of Mideast CFOs expect upturn in 2010

Deloitte survey of chief financial officers in region reveals optimistic mood among most.

Optimism among chief financial officers in the Middle East rose during the third quarter of 2009, a new survey has revealed.

The results of the Deloitte Middle East survey of CFOs in the region indicated that 69 percent of respondents expected demand for their products and services to increase during the first half of 2010.

The survey was designed to benchmark corporate financial attitudes in the region and included participants from North Africa, the Levant region and the Gulf with business interests spread across a wide range of sectors.

"CFOs in the region believe that governments have been responsive in addressing the needs of the private sector in this downturn with unprecedented injections of capital and liquidity employed to support the credit markets," said James Babb, CFO programme leader for Deloitte Middle East

"This has set the stage for projected regional GDP growth for 2010 which outpaces the rest of the world by more than double."

The Deloitte survey also revealed the extent to which CFOs have reduced the scale of expenditure and delayed investment in order to manage their organisations effectively in the downturn and position them for anticipated future growth.

Nearly 89 percent of the CFOs said they planned to or have already cut back on discretionary spending such as travel, hotels, entertainment and training, while 40 percent expected to cut or have already cut current employee numbers while 71 percent have reduced staff hiring.

"In comparison to other Deloitte CFO surveys conducted around the globe during the second quarter of 2009, Middle East CFOs are generally more optimistic than their European counterparts," added Babb.

On Monday, the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index for the third quarter of 2009 revealed greater optimism in the UAE.

The results showed that the UAE's index ranking had surged during the period from a score of 89 to 103, putting it eighth on the global list of 54 countries.

Job security remained the number one concern for UAE consumers although the number of people who feared losing their jobs fell from 36 percent in April to 24 percent in September, the index showed.

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