The Saudi Gazette reports that confidence amongst business leaders in the United Arab Emirates as measured by the YPO Global Pulse sentiment index remained robust in the third quarter, edging down marginally to 67.5 on the 100-point scale. CEOs in the UAE are comfortably more optimistic than the regional composite level for the Middle East and North Africa, which landed at 63.3 in the October survey, and about as upbeat as those in Saudi Arabia, where the index registered 68.1.
"Confidence levels have certainly been boosted by recent figures showing how non-oil exports are driving economic growth, a trend which is likely to accelerate," said Ali Tabbara, managing director of UTC International, a member of the YPO Saudi Chapter and the chair of YPO's Middle East and North Africa region.
With regard to the regional confidence level, Tabbara said "CEO confidence in MENA has risen for three consecutive quarters, based not only on strong oil prices but also increasing diversification within some of the region's economies."
Globally, overall confidence levels across different regions  continued to converge, with less than a point now separating Asia and the EU, compared with a 12.8-point difference six months ago. While other regions showed marginal increases in optimism, confidence in the United States edged lower, still stuck in the tight 3-point range it has held since July 2012.
Sales and hiring forecasts stay strong: CEOs in the UAE were relatively bullish about sales growth, with more than three quarters of the survey participants (76 percent) expecting to increase revenues by at least 10 percent over the next 12 months. Nearly half (45 percent) said they also expected to hire more workers.
Two-thirds of the survey participants said overall business and economic conditions had improved over the last six months, and fully 83 percent said they expected things to get even better over the coming six months