Gulf Q3 business confidence 'picks up'
Dubai, October 21, 2009
Business confidence in the Gulf region has risen to its highest level since October 2008, according to a survey released on Wednesday, with companies anticipating higher revenues and profit margins.
The HSBC survey, which was taken in late September, found 54 per cent of participants expected business to improve overall, up from 41 per cent previously.
'The mood of optimism in the region has increased steadily since its low-point at the start of the year,' Simon Vaughan Johnson, regional head of commercial banking for HSBC Middle East, said in a statement.
The GCC economies - comprising Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain - have faced a severe downturn in the wake of the global financial crisis, coupled with a decline in oil prices off record peaks.
But there have been signs of recovery in recent months, alongside a modest global rebound, helped by a pick up in crude prices to around $78 a barrel from a low of $32 in December.
The poll also said 34 per cent expected revenues to rise in the fourth quarter, up from 29 per cent for the third quarter.
In addition, 30 per cent saw increased profits in the rest of the year while 13 per cent expected a decline.
The quarterly survey of 1,641 participants in the six Gulf states was conducted between September 27 and 30.-Reuters