Gulf CEOs remain positive on business outlook: OBG

survey 1594962 1920Despite escalating tensions in the region, CEOs interviewed for the 2019 edition of the Business Barometer: Gulf CEO Survey carried out by Oxford Business Group (OBG) remain largely upbeat about the outlook for the region

As part of its survey on the economy, the global research and advisory firm asked around 300 C-suite executives from across the region a wide-ranging series of face-to-face questions aimed at gauging business sentiment.

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of those interviewed described their expectations of local business conditions as positive or very positive for the coming 12 months, up from 70.3 per cent in OBG’s 2018 survey on the region.

Most of the business leaders surveyed reacted favourably to the level of transparency in place for conducting business relative to the region, with 71 per cent describing it as high or very high. An even larger majority (80 per cent) told OBG that they viewed the current tax environment (business and personal) as competitive or very competitive on a global scale.

Obtaining financing remain problematic for some. However, 53 per cent of respondents described the ease of access to credit in their market as easy or very easy.

Unsurprisingly, regional political volatility was by far the biggest business environment concern among executives, beyond movements in commodity prices. More than three-quarters (76 per cent) identified it as the top external event they felt could impact the economy in the short to medium term, up from 71 per cent last year and well ahead of China demand growth, which garnered 9 per cent of responses.

Despite these worries, however, 63 per cent of respondents said they thought it likely or very likely their firm would make an investment in the next 12 months, in a sign of the growing role that the private sector is playing in the regional economy.

Efforts to diversify national economies across the region, have inevitably revealed skills gaps across the labour market. Executives interviewed identified several areas in which skills were in high demand, including leadership, engineering, R&D and computech.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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