Mena business confidence hits year-high
Confidence amongst business leaders in the Mena region rose more than two points in the second quarter of this year to 62.6, its highest level in more than a year, according to a report.
Confidence increased for the second consecutive quarter, placing Mena as the second most optimistic region in the world, behind Africa, said the latest YPO Global Pulse chief executive officer (CEO) sentiment survey.
Young Presidents' Organisation (YPO) is a global network of CEOs under the age of 45, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
CEO sentiment in several Mena countries suffered on the back of asset sell-offs in emerging markets around the globe in the second quarter. Nevertheless, rising optimism fuelled by strong oil prices and economic expansion in the UAE and Saudi Arabia more than made up for the downturn in optimism elsewhere.
CEOs in Mena were bullish on sales growth, with 70 per cent expecting to increase revenues by at least 10pc over the next 12 months. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for Mena swelled to a robust 69.5 in the second quarter, the second highest level in the world after Africa.
The fixed investment component of the index inched up to 62.4, with a majority (55pc) of CEOs surveyed saying they plan to step up investments over the next 12 months.
Whilst CEOs in the region expected their organisations to increase sales and investments over the next year, the employment outlook is not quite so encouraging. Intentions to increase headcount have stayed within a narrow 1.8-point range for the past year, suggesting businesses remain cautious.
"This is a turbulent time for the Middle East, with several countries experiencing socio-political upheaval at worst, and fragile economies at best," said UTC Nexia International managing director and chair of YPO's Mena region Ali Tabbara.
"At the same time, the region has real pockets of strength and a strong culture of intra-regional trade and investment confidence," he added.