Posted by Bob Brunskill
Business confidence rose across almost all Gulf countries in the first quarter of 2010, new research has found.
The latest HSBC Gulf Business Confidence Index rose by over 20 points compared to the first quarter of 2009, suggesting the region's business people are increasingly optimistic about their prospects. Of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states, only Bahrain saw a slight dip in confidence.
In addition, it was found that 41 per cent of the region's business interests expect growth to be driven by increased customer numbers this year, compared to the 22 per cent who expected it to come from existing customers.
There was also an improved outlook regarding cross-border trade, both intra-regional and international, the report found.
Tim Reid, HSBC co-head of global banking in the region, said: "What we're seeing is real signs of improvement across the region ... the increase in people expecting profits to rise and companies staffing up would suggest that the future is more positive."
HSBC's index comes after the GCC Investor Sentiment Index by the investment bank SHUAA Capital recorded a massive gain of 15.2 points, which was almost entirely driven by a growth in positive investor sentiment towards the UAE.