Saudi Arabia led the GCC countries as the most optimistic market in the second quarter of 2012 followed by Oman, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain, a report said. While Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE are the most positive about future revenue growth, income and new investments top the list of the highest level of optimism across all GCC countries, according to second quarter GCC Business Confidence Index published by marketing and research specialists YouGov and McGill Consulting Group.
While Oman, Saudi, and Qatar are most optimistic about new investments, competitiveness and operating costs top the agenda of challenges ahead, the report said.
Decision-makers in Qatar have the most concerns when it comes to competitiveness; due to aggressive competition for overseas investments and a limited domestic economic capacity to accelerate growth. Operating costs are a relatively equally burdening issue for GCC firms, the Index found.
According to the report, executives in the consumer product sector are most optimistic especially in terms of revenue growth. They foresee new investment and access to a variety of sources of finances fueling profitability. However challenges in finding qualified talent linger as a growth barrier for the sector.
Telecoms are optimistic about revenue growth due to the introduction of new technologies driving usage rates; yet concerns in attracting and retaining talent is still an issue, the Index said.
In contrast, the professional services industry is most pessimistic in the GCC. High operating costs, and limited financing options to manage payment irregularities have resulted in a difficult operating environment. This combined with a highly competitive landscape, due to low barriers of entry, and excessive cost skimming, present very challenging times ahead.
When it comes to growth, the Index found that Saudi executives are the most optimistic about increasing revenue and availability of multiple sources of finance.
This includes several sources driven by recent changes in fiscal policies by the government. Equally executives said competition and high indirect operating costs are difficult to anticipate and manage.
When it comes to the geo-economic landscape nearly 31 per cent of executives are reasonably less concerned with the geopolitical situation in the Middle East. While half are closely monitoring the current situation to reassess the commercial risks and implications this may have on future operations.
Mounting concerns are also surfacing among executives about the ailing global economy, the report said.