By Andy Sambidge
YPO Global Pulse sentiment index scores UAE at 70.6 compared to global average of just 63
Confidence among business leaders in the UAE strengthened in the final quarter of 2013, according to the YPO Global Pulse sentiment index.
CEOs in the UAE are among the most optimistic in the world about current economic conditions and the future prospects for their organisations, the survey said.
This was in line with the wider Middle East and North Africa region, which recorded the highest regional reading in the world at 67.1.
In the UAE specifically, CEO sentiment climbed 3.1 points to 70.6, above the regional composite and just below Saudi Arabia (71.8). The global index stood at 63.0.
"Growing trade with China and increasing economic diversification in UAE help counterbalance the economic impact of weakening oil prices," said Manish Patel, managing director of Geap Group and executive member of YPO's Emirates Chapter.
Globally, a rising tide of optimism lifted business confidence in all regions except Africa and Australasia, where CEO sentiment edged lower from already-lofty levels.
The European Union surged to a new high at 62.2; the United States broke out of its 15-quarter confidence rut, jumping 3 points to 63.5; and Asia's index rose for the second consecutive quarter, to 63.6.
Sales and hiring forecasts remained strong in the UAE with business leaders bullish about the prospects for their organisations over the next 12 months.
Nearly three quarters of respondents said they expected to increase turnover by at least 10 percent, and the majority (60 percent) expected to increase headcount in 2014.
According to the index, CEOs in the UAE were overwhelmingly positive about the upward trajectory of the economy. Nearly all (96 percent) of the survey participants said that they expected overall business and economic conditions to improve over the coming six months.
The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of January, gathered answers from 2,088 chief executive officers across the globe, including 103 in MENA.