Gulf business confidence higher in Q2 - HSBC

Still, report says one in three think global recession will last at least two more years.
Gulf business confidence higher in Q2 - HSBC
By Soren Billing
Sun 21 Jun 2009 10:26 AM

Gulf business confidence picked up in the second quarter of the year for the first time since October 2008, according to HSBC’s quarterly business confidence index.

The region’s businesses now see better times ahead on almost all measures, including turnover, profit margins and meeting their targets for the year.

The overall index rose to 79.4 from 74.8, which is the biggest change in a single quarter since business confidence collapsed in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“The results of the second quarter survey may be described as cautiously optimistic,” said Tim Reid, co-head of global banking at HSBC Middle East.

Still, almost one in five were pessimistic about their revenue streams, while one in three believed the economic slowdown would continue for at least another two years.

On a positive note, the number of people who expect profits to rise this year increased by 5 percent to 28 percent, while the number of respondents who predict a better performance in the next quarter rose 6 percent to 48 percent.

“Business has been through a tough nine months, but some market participants are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

"The mood would appear to be that, while there remains much to be cautious about, things do not appear to be deteriorating.

"It’s a far cry from the boom time of 2007 and early 2008, but most believe the worst is over,” said Reid.

The survey covered 1,823 business people in all six countries of the GCC.

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