By Andy Sambidge
New survey reveals Kuwaitis are most optimistic about the first half of 2009.
Consumer confidence in Kuwait is the most optimistic in the Middle East for the first half of 2009, according to a new survey.
The latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence reveals that consumer confidence in Kuwait is the highest on record since the inception of the survey in 2004.
The Gulf state's current H1 2009 Index score of 96.6 surpasses all others. Despite the current global financial and stock market crises, Kuwait index scores of 98.6 on Employment, 98.0 on Regular Income, 97.6 on Quality of Life, 95.9 on Economy and 93.0 on the Stock Market, remain the highest in the region.
“In Kuwait, consumers remain the most optimistic for the entire Middle East. For purchasing priorities, a majority of Kuwaiti consumers are not planning to cut back on their expenses,” said Raghu Malhotra, Area Business Head - Middle East (Gulf Countries), MasterCard Worldwide.
“The Kuwaiti business community should see real opportunities in these results as consumers remain the most optimistic in the region and plan to maintain their level of spending.”
The Mastercard survey also showed that consumer confidence across the Middle East continues to be fairly optimistic.
The Index in the Middle East, which currently stands at 72.7 shows that consumers have in fact become a little more optimistic than period ago (66.4) and slightly less so with the optimism of year ago (73.7).
Consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia [72.4], Qatar [76.2] and the UAE (75.4) remained fairly to very optimistic.
However, current consumer sentiments were lower than a period ago, year ago and (in the case of Qatar and the UAE) lower than the markets’ historical average.
The overall decline in the Index in Qatar and Saudi Arabia was due largely to erosion of confidence in the stock market, while the UAE saw a sharp decline in Employment sentiments.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence and MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities are based on consumer surveys conducted by MasterCard across seven markets in the Middle East and Africa.
A total of 3,200 consumers were surveyed between October 14 and November 11, 2008.
The Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectation in the market for the next six months. It is calculated based upon percentage response figures, with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.
Not surprising as 94% of Kuwaiti's work for the government in either the oil companies or ministries and are cushioned from the downturn in the economy. Last count only 45,000 Kuwaiti's worked in the private sector, and of those 1,500 have recently returned to government 'cradle to grave welfare' type jobs.