Qatar residents feel a marked improvement in economic conditions, as consumer confidence rises for the second time this year, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index (CCI). The Consumer Confidence Index, a quarterly survey conducted by Bayt.com, Middle East’s number one job site in conjunction with YouGov, research specialists, found that Qatar moved up the index by 9.0 points, continuing the country’s course of improved consumer confidence since the last quarter.
The survey showed that respondents felt certain features of their economic positions were unchanged from the previous year. More than a third of respondents, 34 percent, felt that they were in the same financial position as last year, while the same number agreed that their country’s economy was unchanged. However, respondents are optimistic about the future. Almost half of respondents, 48 percent, said that they believe business conditions will improve, and 40 percent said the country’s economy will improve in a year’s time.
Across the rest of the Middle East, consumer confidence levels showed a positive increase. Confidence in Kuwait rose the highest among the surveyed countries with an increase of 10.0 points, followed by the UAE (9.3), Bahrain (5.1) and Saudi Arabia (3.4).
Despite being one of the only countries in the Middle East to record a consistent improvement in consumer confidence over the past year, Lebanon in this wave was the only country to deteriorate, moving down the index by 0.7 points. By comparison, Syria showed a significant improvement of 5.6 points.
The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is a measure of consumer expectations and satisfaction of various elements of the economy including inflation, job opportunities and the cost of living.
The survey had asked respondents about their personal financial situation. Respondents in Qatar recorded the most positive improvements in their financial positions with 35 percent stated their position was better than last year. The other countries in the GCC reported slight improvements in personal finances: 29 percent in KSA and 26 percent in Bahrain stated they were better off. In line with the results of the last wave, respondents in the UAE and Jordan were similarly hard hit in terms of their personal finances, with 40 percent and 39 percent stating they are worse off.
Consumer confidence, which shows consumer expectations and their level of optimism towards the future, has improved in each of the surveyed country with the exception of Lebanon. UAE improved the most, moving up the Consumer Expectations Index (CEI) by 8.6 points, closely followed by Qatar (8.3 points), Kuwait (7.0), Bahrain (5.1) and Saudi Arabia (3.1).
Almost half of respondents, 46 percent, said the personal financial position would change for the better in a year’s time, and only 8 percent said that it would be worse. Qatar’s respondents were above the average, with 51 percent stating their position would be better.
Respondents also felt positive that economy would improve in a year’s time; 40 percent said that it will be better, compared to just 19 percent of those that said it would become worse. Kuwait topped the table with 51 percent of respondents said their economy will be better followed by UAE (49 percent) Saudi Arabia (47) and Qatar (46).
When asked whether it is a good time to buy consumer durables or not, respondents once again stated they are reluctant to spend: 42 percent said it was a bad time to buy goods such as televisions or refrigerators, 30 percent said it was a neutral time, while a fifth agreed that it was a good time to buy.
The survey showed that propensity to consume index (PCI) varied from country to country. Qatar showed significant improvement 9.4 points. Moving highest up the PCI by 13.2 index points was the UAE, highlighting a second significant improvement after the country’s jump of 12.6 index points in the previous wave.
Qatar showed most improvement in terms of Employee Confidence Index (ECI), a general measure of how people feel about the local job market and current attitudes towards availability of jobs and salary satisfaction, by moving up by 10.6.
A greater proportion of respondents believe that more jobs will be available in a year’s time. Just 28 percent of all respondents said they feel that job availability will be worse, compared to 33 percent in the last wave; while 30 percent of respondents said conditions would be better.
Feeling most positive about the future availability of work were respondents in Qatar (43 percent), Kuwait (42) and the UAE (40) who said things would be better after a year.
As in previous waves, respondents feel that salary increases have not kept pace with the cost of living. The majority, 60 percent, said that they haven’t kept pace, while 17 percent feel they have increased in line with the cost of living.