OBG BUSINESS BAROMETER: UAE CEO SURVEY PUBLISHED Findings point to long-term confidence & untapped potential


Abu Dhabi: Three-quarters of CEOs interviewed in the UAE by the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) for a new survey said their company was likely or very likely to make a significant capital investment in the coming 12 months.

As part of its first-time Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey, OBG asked high-level executives from across the industries a wide-ranging series of questions aimed at gauging business sentiment. The findings from these face-to-face meetings are now available to view on OBG’s Editors’ Blog.    

In an indication that the UAE’s many strengths continue to weigh favourably against the impact of external headwinds on the country’s economy, 82% of respondents also said they had positive or very positive expectations of local business conditions for the coming year.

When asked which two external events, beyond commodity price fluctuations, were most likely to affect the local economy in the short-to-medium term, 75% of business leaders selected regional security as a possible key factor. The opening up of Iran, meanwhile, was cited by 40% of respondents, followed by currency volatility (15%) and the slowdown in China (11%).

However, 46% of respondents described accessing credit in the UAE as difficult or very difficult, perhaps reflecting caution on the part of the banking industry when it comes to lending.

OBG’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor for the Middle East, Oliver Cornock, said the results of the survey suggested that the emirates – both as a whole and individually – were meeting the challenges they faced head on, buoyed by their strengths, which include world-class infrastructure and tourism offerings, significant financial reserves and a reputation as a safe haven.

“The major reforms to the UAE’s subsidy system and the imminent introduction of a GCC-wide value-added tax come at a time when the private sector is already feeling the pinch, and yet most of the CEOs we spoke to remain positive or very positive about local business conditions,” he said. “I think we can draw two important conclusions from this; first, it speaks of the underlying, long-term confidence CEOs have in the UAE; and, perhaps more importantly, it underlines the identified, but as-yet-unrealised potential that the country offers.”

Cornock’s in-depth evaluation of the survey’s results can be found on OBG’s Editors’ Blog, titled ‘Next Frontier’. All four of OBG’s regional managing editors use the platform to share their expert analysis of the latest developments taking place across the sectors of the 30+ high-growth markets covered by the company’s research.   

The OBG Business Barometer: CEO Surveys mark an addition to the Group’s extensive portfolio of research tools. The full results of the survey on the UAE will be made available online and in print. Similar studies are also under way in the other markets in which OBG operates.

OBG Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey Copyright (c). All rights reserved.

This survey has been designed to assess business sentiment amongst business leaders (Chief Executives or equivalent) and their outlook for the next 12 months. Unlike many surveys, the OBG Business Barometer is conducted by OBG staff on a face-to-face basis, across the full range of industries, company sizes and functional specialties. The results are anonymous.

OBG Business Barometer is based on data from companies with revenue within the following parameters, among others:

  • 88% of companies surveyed were private
  • 51% of companies surveyed were international
  • 31% of companies surveyed were local
  • 67% of companies surveyed were based in Dubai, 23% in Abu Dhabi and 9% in Sharjah

The data generated allows for analysis of sentiment within an individual country, as well as regionally and globally. Additionally, comparisons can be drawn between both individual countries and regionally. The results are presented statistically within infographics and discussed in articles written by OBG Managing Editors.

OBG provides this survey, infographics and accompanying analysis from sources believed to be reliable, for information purposes only. OBG accepts no responsibility for any loss, financial or otherwise, sustained by any person or organisation using it.

For further information on the content of the survey, please contact: Oliver Cornock, Editor-in-Chief, ocornock@oxfordbusinessgroup.com

Should you wish to reproduce any element of this survey, infographics and accompanying analysis please contact bpasali@oxfordbusinessgroup.com. Any unauthorised reproduction will be considered an infringement of the Copyright. For further details about OBG and how to subscribe to our widely acclaimed business intelligence publication please visit http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com

About Oxford Business Group:

Oxford Business Group is a global research and consultancy company with a presence in over 30 countries, from the Middle East, Asia and Africa to the Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on many of the world’s fastest growing markets, OBG has offices in London, Berlin, Dubai and Istanbul, and a network of local bureaus across the countries in which we operate.

Through its range of products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, tourism, energy, transport, industry and ICT. OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms: Economic News and Views, OBG Business Barometer – CEO Survey, Roundtables and conferences, Global Platform – exclusive video interviews, The Report publications and its Consultancy division.