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Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:34 PM

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UAE consumer confidence falls for first time since Mar

Quarterly survey finds optimism in economy has dropped in last few months.

Consumer confidence in the UAE has fallen for the first time since March last year, the latest results of the Consumer Confidence Index have revealed.

The quarterly survey conducted by the Middle Eastern job site Bayt.com in conjunction with research specialists YouGov Siraj, found the UAE had moved down the index by 4.8 points.

Other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region which also saw a decline were Morocco, with the largest drop of 5 index point, Kuwait, Syria and Qatar.

Countries which recorded an increase in consumer confidence were Algeria, which shot up 12.1 points, Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“Despite the steady and positive improvements that were recorded in consumer confidence in the last wave, the latest figures suggest that optimism related to the region’s economies has somewhat declined over the last few months,” said Joanna Longworth, chief marketing officer, YouGov Siraj.

“In saying that however, the last couple of months have brought a number of challenges for some countries in the region according to news reports, but despite this, consumer confidence has not dropped as much as some people had probably predicted,” she said.

The index is a measure of consumer expectations including inflation, job opportunities and the cost of living.

It found that just 20 percent of UAE respondents said they were better off than last year, while 40 percent said they were worse off.

Consumers in Oman and Egypt reported the largest improvements in their financial situation, with 34 percent and 33 percent respectively, saying it had improved since last year.

The UAE was also below the regional average in terms of optimism about future personal finances, with 43 percent saying they thought they would have more money next year, compared to the average of 47 percent.

Respondents in Oman and Qatar were most positive about their country’s economy with 55 percent and 53 percent respectively saying things would be better in a year’s time. In the UAE 44 percent of people said the economy would improve by 2011, but 17 percent said it would be in a worse state.

Data for the survey was collected between December 1 and 21, 2009 from 17,021 people aged 18 and over.

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