The YouGov and McGill Consulting Group GCC Business Confidence Index gives insights into what the future might have in store.
The Q3 BCI report reveals Bahrain having the highest increment in confidence by 2.3 points in this quarter followed by Kuwait and Oman. While four of the GCC countries show positive signs, the two countries with slightly declined confidence were the UAE with 2.26 points drop in confidence followed by Qatar.
Although not quite significant, prospects of new investment are seen in positive light this quarter with an increment of 1.46 points over the last quarter. This change is primarily driven by KSA due to positive outlook towards optimal investment opportunities and in Oman based on prospects of growth in revenue, the availability of manpower and reasonable operation costs. Bahrain also shows an increment in the index when it comes to investment, revenue and operating costs.
On the other hand a drop of 2.18 points is noticed mostly in Qatar, KSA and Kuwait when it comes to attracting and retaining qualified talent. Nader Sabry Managing Partner at McGill Consulting Group said “capability building continues to be a growth barrier across all sectors in the region, it’s topped the agenda for so long that executives have become numb to it”. Suhail Shaikh, Director at YouGov opines that the white collar talent pool in the region is limited to some extent and is shared by countries that project relatively greater stability on the economic and political front.
When it comes to sector confidence consumer products still rank as the number one sector even with a slight decline in optimism. While technology showed the higher jump from Q2 to Q3 by 6.22 points and moved up 11 ranks, KSA and UAE contribute to this increase with KSA claiming a positive outlook on revenue, investment (UAE as well), and competitive pressure and UAE also assured of growth in manpower. On the other hand, and oddly enough the energy sector declined by 4.08 points dropping four ranks. Nader Sabry stated that “although energy is a relatively stable sector such fluctuations are quite normal and nothing to be alarmed about”. Besides “Countries like KSA and UAE have been successful in improving their non-oil sector contribution to the GDP”, says Suhail Shaikh.
Firms in the GCC continue to expect an increase of 5 – 15% in profitability in the next 12 months. This continues to be driven by diversifying their overall offerings due to the perceptions in Bahrain, Oman and KSA. GCC firms are finding financial solutions by balancing their debt sources between internal and external sources attempting to achieve sustainable growth. Shifts observed for the internal resources in Bahrain and UAE while external specified by Kuwait and Qatar.