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UAE consumer confidence surges

Issac John / 12 April 2010

DUBAI — The UAE recorded the strongest rally in Gulf consumer confidence index in the first 2010 quarter, according to findings of a survey published on Sunday.

Reversing a drop in consumer confidence felt at the end of last year, the UAE moved up 4.4 points on the index, followed by Bahrain, which saw a 1.9 point rise and Kuwait, with a 0.9 point boost according to a survey by Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj. Saudi Arabia and Qatar moved down the index by 2.4 and 0.3 points respectively.

The consumer confidence survey monitors the change in sentiment from the first-quarter this year from the fourth-quarter 2009 across the Middle East and North Africa.

“It is always interesting at the first quarter of each year to see how consumer confidence changes from one calendar year to the next,” said Amer Zureikat, Bayt.com’s regional manager.

Overall, 36 per cent of the region’s respondents said their financial position was the same while 26 per cent said it had got better.

In the UAE, 21 per cent said they were better off than last year, 34 per cent said they were in the same position as last year and 39 per cent said they were in a worse position than         last year.

Adding to the United Arab Emirate’s bullish outlook, a separate survey, also released on Sunday, found out that UAE companies were prepared to offer larger salary increases to retain key personnel and maintain their competitiveness.

Salary growth is expected to average between 7 and 7.5 per cent in the UAE and 7.9 per cent across the region this year, shows the survey by Careertunity.com, a leading Dubai-based online           job portal.

More than half of Middle Eastern companies surveyed by Careertunity.com confirmed that they plan to expand their workforce in 2010.

Most of them also considered online jobsites as their preferred channel for recruiting talent.

According to Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj survey, on the whole, respondents are expecting to be in a better financial position next year.

Overall, 49 per cent of the respondents surveyed believe that their personal financial position will be better next year.

In the UAE, 44 per cent of respondents believe that their personal finances will be better a year from now, compared to just 10 per cent that believe it will become worse.

Most optimistic that their personal financial position will be better a year from now are respondents in Oman and Qatar where 57 per cent and 52 per cent said things would be better, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where 51 per cent in each country said their personal financial position will be better a year from now.

Respondents in Oman, Bahrain and the UAE are the most positive about the expected improvements in their country’s economy, with 60, 56 and 48 per cent, respectively, stating things will be better.

When asked whether they believe more jobs will be available in a year’s time, respondents were roughly divided — 30 per cent said more will be available, 28 per cent said the job situation will remain the same and 28 per cent said the availability of jobs would be worse.

About 64 per cent said that there was a disparity in terms of salaries as they could not keep pace with the cost of living.


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