UAE executive confidence up 30%

Banking and real estate among the most confident; PE still gloomy

A majority of the UAE’s top executives polled by believe that confidence level in the country has increased significantly, with more than 65 per cent of respondents saying UAE confidence levels are up 30 per cent or more over last year.

This website polled a number of executives in UAE-based companies across a wide variety of economic sectors, and a majority of them agree that with the worst behind us, there is a heightened sense of confidence now and that the economic recovery is fast gaining momentum.

While one in five (19.23 per cent) of polled respondents believe that confidence in the country has surged by more than 40 per cent, a majority (46.15 per cent) of those polled believe that confidence level this year has increased by 30 per cent over last year.

On the other hand, 19.23 per cent of executives believe the increase in confidence level has been 20 per cent while 7.69 per cent say 10 per cent is a figure that can best describe the increase.

A minority (7.69 per cent) of the polled executives did not see any change in the confidence level in 2010 over last year.

Surprisingly, executives in banking and real estate sectors – presumably among the worst hit by recession – are the most confident while ones from private equity (PE) are the least confident. A number of PE respondents told this website that they believe investors are still reluctant to put their money in projects and are holding back.

Talking specifically of business confidence in the country, a vast majority of executives agree that it is definitely higher than what we’d seen last year. Almost 85 per cent (84.6 per cent) agree that business confidence in the country this year beats the levels of 2009 while the remaining (15.38 per cent) say the see no change over last year.

Likewise, 84.6 per cent also believe that pessimism and fear of further financial crises appears to be abating but a minority (15.38 per cent) say this may not be the case.

According to a recent report by Foreign Investment Office of the Dubai Economic Department, the UAE leads the Middle East region in terms of investor confidence, with Dubai seen as the major hub. When asked about their top destination for investments in the region over the next three years, 46 per cent of executives chose Dubai (28 per cent) and Abu Dhabi (18 per cent) as their top choice. This is a strong vote of confidence for the UAE’s investment attractiveness.

These findings compare well with the AT Kearney 2010 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, which ranks the UAE as the 11th-most-cited investment location globally for the next three years and the top destination in the Middle East. Dubai has emerged as a major access point for foreign investments, with many companies using it as a platform to enter the wider region.

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