MENA Business Confidence – 2nd highest globally

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Business leaders in the MENA region are the 2nd most optimistic in the world.

confident business people
Confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) rose more than 2 points in the second quarter to 62.6, its highest level in more than a year – making the MENA region the 2n most optimistic region in the world, behind Africa. Photo: Victor/Flickr

According to the latest YPO Global Pulse CEO sentiment survey, businesses across the MENA region have exhibited increased confidence in the second quarter of 2013. Confidence among business leaders rose more than 2 points to 62.6, its highest level in more than a year. Confidence increased for the second consecutive quarter, placing MENA as the second most optimistic region in the world, behind Africa.

MENA Business Confidence assisted by strong oil prices and asset sell-offs

In many MENA countries, this has been positively affected by asset sell-offs in emerging markets around the globe in the second quarter of 2013. However, this factor does not hold much weightage in the index which has largely been impacted by the strong oil prices and economic expansion of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, concomitant with the rising optimism.

The survey has yielded some major findings, listed below:

  • Sales forecasts show an upward trend: CEOs in MENA were bullish on sales growth, with 70% expecting to increase revenues by at least 10% over the next 12 months.
  • The YPO Sales Confidence Index for MENA swelled to a robust 69.5 in the second quarter, the second highest level in the world after Africa. 
  • Capital spending plans remain buoyant: Likewise, the fixed investment component of the index inched up to 62.4, with a majority (55%) of CEOs surveyed saying they plan to step up investments over the next 12 months. 
  • Employment expectations stay flat: Whilst CEOs in the region expected their organisations to increase sales and investments over the next year, the employment outlook is not quite so encouraging. Intentions to increase headcount have stayed within a narrow 1.8-point range for the past year, suggesting that businesses remain cautious about hiring. 

Commenting on these findings, Ali Tabbara, managing director of UTC Nexia International and chair of YPO’s Middle East and North Africa region said:

Ali Tabbara; “Needless to say, this is a turbulent time for the Middle East, with several countries experiencing socio-political upheaval at worst, and fragile economies at best. At the same time, the region has real pockets of strength and a strong culture of intra-regional trade and investment that serve to buoy overall business confidence.” — Ali Tabbara, managing director of UTC Nexia International and chair of YPO’s Middle East and North Africa region
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