Saudi SMEs report high level of business confidence

July 2010

Saudi Arabia has seen a leap in business confidence with small businesses planning to increase capital expenditure (61%), expand their workforce (46%) and holding a positive view towards local economic growth (63%).Similar positive outlook is being reflected by SMEs across the region with positive sentiment strongest in Saudi Arabia.

These are the major findings of a survey conducted by HSBC, SABB’s global partner, involving more than 6,300 enterprises in 21 key markets globally.

Adel Al-Nasser, SABB Deputy Managing Director, said: “This research indicates improving confidence levels. It is encouraging to see that despite global economic uncertainty, small businesses in Saudi Arabia remain confident and continue to invest and recruit. “

Compared to previous results in 4Q09, confidence increased from 125 to 145 in Saudi Arabia showing signs of increased positivity. This reflects a more marked increase in confidence comparative to regional outlook which has seen confidence grow from 125 to 132 during the same period.

In terms of economic growth over the next six months, 63 per cent of SMEs have a positive outlook with a further 22 per cent expecting the current pace of growth to maintain.

Ninety-four per cent of SMEs will either expand their workforce or maintain their current staffing levels in the next six months. Only six per cent are planning to cut staff.

Commenting on recruitment indicators Tim Liverton, Head of Business Banking, said : “SMEs are by nature always running at essential staff levels. The fact that there are more SMEs who are planning to keep or increase staff rather than decrease staff is a positive sign for this sector.”

Mr Al-Nasser said: “Forming a vital part of the local economy, the collective impact of small business is significant. With our international footprint and local expertise, SABB continues to provide small business with an ideal platform to grow and look for new business opportunity.”