Chief executives of UAE-based companies remain positive about local business conditions despite challenging global trends according to the findings of the most recent edition of the Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey carried out by Oxford Business Group (OBG).
As part of its assessment of the economy, the global research and consultancy company conducted over 100 face-to-face interviews to gain a comprehensive insight into business sentiment across the UAE’s economic sectors. The results of the survey indicate that the UAE’s economic outlook is improving.
“The full results of our latest survey reveal a generally upbeat and optimistic private sector, with 64 per cent of respondents either positive or very positive about the country’s business environment over next 12 months. While this is down slightly from the 67 per cent recorded in our last survey, the proportion of those who answered negative or very negative has fallen significantly, from 24 per cent to 9 per cent,” said Billy FitzHerbert, OBG’s Regional Editor for the Middle East.
Interestingly, the study noted that the recent escalation of tensions in the Gulf appears to have had a muted impact on sentiment. “Stimulus packages unveiled by Abu Dhabi and Dubai last year have continued to support expansion in those emirates, while the moves to relax foreign ownership rules across swathes of the national economy have been widely applauded,” FitzHerbert said.
Some 122 economic activities across 13 sectors have been opened to 100 per cent foreign ownership recently. Survey results showed escalating regional tensions remained the main concern for the business community, with 71 per cent of surveyed CEOs identifying regional volatility as the external event most likely to impact the UAE’s growth in the short to medium term.
Business leaders see the UAE’s deepening ties with China as an important positive development. The UAE has long been a key supplier of oil for China but is now also emerging as a pivotal partner in China’s ambitious infrastructure investment programme. In April the two countries signed $3.4 billion (Dh12.4 billion) worth of deals under the Belt and Road Initiative.