Saudi Arabia remains most business confident in GCC

June 2010

Saudi Arabia remains the most business confident in GCC – up to a level not seen since 2007 according to the latest Gulf Business Confidence Index released by HSBC, SABB’s global banking partner. The survey which tracks business sentiment in all six countries of the GCC, characterises the mood of business people as “realistically optimistic”. Predictions of revenue, maintenance of profits, budgets and meeting the targets all remain positive; and the Index across all six countries remains at its highest for two years.

The survey also reflects that the mood of business people has been trending upwards over the last seven quarters, after a low in late 2008, widely seen as the height of the financial crisis. While many of the markets surveyed have shown only a slight increase against Q1 2010, the upwards trend is more marked when viewed over the past year. From Q1 2009 to date, the overall index has risen by over 15 points to 86. The survey is calculated using the results from Q1 2007 as a base, with a score of 100

Although the overall index remains below the heights of 2007 and early 2008, specific indicators show a positive outlook in key operational areas. Forecast growth for 2010 shows that 43% see an increase in business turnover in the Middle East, 40% see an increase in profit, and 33% are planning to increase investment.

"The index is an excellent indicator of perceived confidence around the region, but I believe the most illuminating details lie in the underlying data,” commented Simon Vaughan Johnson, Regional Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Group, MENA.