Kuwaiti businessmen have "fairly positive" expectations from the first quarter of 2009, Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) said in a report.
The financial advisory company, which has its headquarters in New Jersey, said while 58-per cent of the Kuwaiti business units surveyed expected an increase in net profits in Q1 2009, 55-per cent of them foresaw a rise in volume of sales.
The figures are strikingly similar to that of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, from which reports were released in the span of a fortnight.
D&B has termed the market indicators in all these GCC countries, which have not remained immune from the impact of the global economic crisis, "positive".
"The fact that Kuwait is still expected to post a healthy growth rate in 2009 indicates the resilience of the Kuwait economy and this is reflected in the BOI (Business Optimism Index) survey. The businesses are however treading cautiously with regards to any new hiring or investment plans given the mixed signals in the global and domestic market demand," D&B's CEO (South Asia and Middle East) Rajesh Mirchandani said.
Survey for preparing the BOI report was conducted in November 2008 – a time when sentiments are low amid virulent crisis in the global financial markets, and growing concerns over the declining crude oil prices.
D&B reveals some early yet definite signs of easing inflationary pressures.
Almost 50-per cent of the survey respondents it interviewed expect no change in the level of selling prices in the next quarter as compared to the last one and 23-per cent expect a decline.
Despite the uncertainties about the global economy, business units in Kuwait are planning to continue their investment plans. Fifty-nine per cent of the respondents surveyed expect an increase in investments for business expansion, and another 20-per cent plan to invest in technology infrastructure, the D&B report said.
The impact of the global financial crisis is yet to unfold, the BOI survey shows.
Forty-seven per cent of non-hydrocarbon business units expect a negative effect on their business, while 45-per cent do not foresee any significant impact.
"The Central Bank of Kuwait is developing programmes aimed at halting the financial market malaise.
"In current turmoil, the Kuwaiti stocks are trading at attractive levels and we believe that blue-chip stocks with sound policies are bound to create interest in coming time," said Abdulaziz N Al Marzooq, general manager of Muthanna Investment Company.