By Sarah Townsend
And three-quarters of UAE bosses say likely to make significant capital investment
The vast majority of chief executives in the UAE are positive about business conditions in the year ahead, according to a new survey.
Oxford Business Group (OBG)’s inaugural Business Barometer survey found that 82 percent of UAE-based CEOs said they had ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ expectations of local business conditions for the coming year.
What is more, three-quarters of CEOs interviewed by OBG said their company was ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to make a significant capital investment in the coming 12 months.OBG
asked high-level executives from across industry sectors a broad-ranging series of questions aimed at gauging business sentiment.
It said the survey indicated that “the UAE’s many strengths continue to weigh favourably against the impact of external headwinds on the country’s economy”.
They cited global commodity price fluctuations, currency volatility, slowdown in China, security and the opening up of Iran, as possible factors that could affect the local economy in the short-to-medium term.
The survey also found that 46 percent of respondents described accessing credit in the UAE as difficult or very difficult – “perhaps reflecting caution on the part of the banking industry when it comes to lending”, OBG said.
OBG editor-in-chief and managing editor for the Middle East, Oliver Cornock, said the survey suggested the UAE was meeting challenges head on, buoyed by world-class infrastructure and tourism offerings, significant financial reserves and a reputation as a safe haven.
“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,” he said.
“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.”