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Wed 2 Sep 2009 06:48 AM

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Gulf consumer spending still strong - Mastercard

Regional chief says Mideast consumers 'way more positive than rest of the world'.

Gulf consumer spending still strong - Mastercard
UPBEAT MESSAGE: Consumer spending in the Middle East region is still strong, according to Mastercard.

Consumer spending has not dropped in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East, according to the latest figures from MasterCard Worldwide, it was reported on Wednesday.

Raghu Malhotra, area business head Middle East (Gulf countries), MasterCard Worldwide did not give specific UAE growth figures but the firm's quarterly report showed the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region had seen double-digit growth in the second quarter of this year.

"People may say that because the rate of growth has changed, spending has gone down, but no… spending has not gone down. Rather, only the rate of growth has slowed down. They are two different things," said Malhotra in comments published by Emirates Business.

"I can only go by facts. What do we see in our business? Our business is growing," he told the paper.

"Parts of the world may be flat or declining but in this region, we have not seen a downturn in spending at all – this is across the region… I am not aggregating this," he added

Malhotra described Middle East consumers as "way more positive than the rest of the world".

Gross dollar volume on MasterCard cards increased by 17.4 per cent, purchase volume went up by 16.3 per cent, purchase transactions and cash transactions were 19.7 per cent and 29.3 per cent higher respectively, while cards issued were 14.3 per cent higher than the same period in 2008, the paper reported.

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