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Kingdom leads region in consumer confidence

Apr 17, 2011 00:14

EDDAH: Consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia recorded the highest rise in the region this quarter and people also remain largely optimistic about the Kingdom’s economy, according to a survey.

Saudi Arabia’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) moved up by 10.7 points, the study conducted by career site Bayt.com in conjunction with research specialists YouGov Siraj said.

The CCI is a measure of consumer expectations and satisfaction of various elements of the economy including inflation, job opportunities and the cost of living.

Data for the March 2011 quarterly survey was collected online between March 14 and April 3, 2011 with 8,079 respondents from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan.

It covered men and women, aged above 18, of all nationalities.

Sundip Chahal, chief operating officer of YouGov Siraj, pointed out that “gauging consumer opinion is a powerful tool for revealing the current attitudes and sentiments about the business and economic conditions in a specific country and to see how these change overtime.”

As part of the CCI, respondents are asked questions about their personal financial circumstances and how they compare to the same period last year.

Thirty-four percent of Saudi respondents say they are better off than last year while 32 percent saw no change in their position. Another 27 percent say they are in a worse position than last year.

In addition to financial status, consumer confidence is assessed by asking the respondents about their level of optimism toward the future, which forms the Consumer Expectations Index (CEI).

The Kingdom recorded an increase of 12.6 points since the last quarter. In Saudi Arabia, 56 percent of respondents believe that their personal finances will be better than a year from now, compared to just four percent who feared their status might drop further.

The countries varied widely in terms of their consumer expectations.

Respondents also remain largely optimistic that their country’s economy will be better in a year’s time.

Overall, 51 percent voiced optimism about their country’s economy, 17 percent say it will remain the same, and 12 percent say it will become worse.

Respondents in the Kingdom are quite positive about expected improvements in their country’s economy, with 59 percent stating things will be better.

The study also assessed the level of respondents’ propensity to consume as part of the Propensity to Consume Index (PCI). This showed an increase of 0.5 points in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait recorded the largest rise, moving up the index by 1.9 points.

In addition to financial position, consumer confidence is assessed by asking the respondents about their level of optimism toward their future, which forms the CEI.

The Kingdom recorded an increase of 12.6 points since the last quarter.

On the whole, respondents are expecting to be in a better financial position next year.

While 48 percent of respondents believe that their personal financial position will be better next year, six percent of the region’s respondents feared their status might become worse.

Another contributor to the CCI is the Employee Confidence Index (ECI), which measures the attitudes of respondents to the local job market, in terms of their satisfaction toward the availability of jobs and their satisfaction with their salary.

The Kingdom recorded a rise in 6.4 points and Bahrain showed the biggest increase as it moved up the index by 12.6 points.

Asked whether they would invest in property, the respondents largely agree that they will not.

Within Saudi Arabia, 57 percent say they will not be buying any property.

The trend continues from the previous quarter with a majority of respondents (62 percent) stating they are not interested in making any investment in property.

Within Saudi Arabia, 57 percent say they will not be buying any property.

Of those wishing to purchase a property in the Kingdom, 61 percent say they are likely to opt for a new property.

In terms of salaries and whether they have kept pace with the cost of living, the majority feels that they have not kept pace with the cost of living.

While 59 percent agreed that there is a disparity, 16 percent said they had increased in line with the cost of living. Five percent claimed that the salaries have increased more than the cost of living.

http://arabnews.com/economy/article362858.ece


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