01 October 2013

Gulf Industry Magazine helps you catch up with the numbers behind economic and industrial developments in the region.


Mena residents see rise in cost of living

About 71 per cent residents across the region anticipate a rise in the cost of living in their country in the next six months, said a consumer confidence survey report.

The latest Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) Survey was conducted by job site, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation.

The survey also said that residents in the UAE are mostly positive that their personal financial situation will improve within the same period.

Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of the region’s respondents stated that their financial situation has improved compared to six months ago, with the majority, 43 per cent, claiming that it has remained unchanged, and 29 per cent claiming it has become worse. Half (52 per cent) stated that their savings have decreased in comparison to last year.

In terms of making major purchases, the majority of respondents in all countries surveyed, with the exception of Oman, do not expect to buy a vehicle in the coming 12 months. For those who will be looking to purchase a vehicle, about 48 per cent will buy a used one, compared to 45 per cent who will buy new.

When it comes to property, about 63 per cent of the respondents – the majority in every country covered by the survey – will not be buying in the next 12 months. For the minority that are considering buying, new properties are more desirable than pre-owned, while 50 per cent of respondents want to buy an apartment as opposed to a villa. A fifth (19 per cent) will be looking for commercial property.

About 28 per cent of respondents are planning to purchase a desktop or laptop computer in the next six months. Other popular purchases are anticipated to be furniture and LCD or plasma televisions.

In the UAE, about 72 per cent respondents stated that their personal financial situation is now either the same as, or worse than it was six months ago, with just 22 per cent claiming it has improved.


Middle East rich have $880bn wealth

ABOUT 5,300 rich individuals in the Middle East possess a wealth of about $880 billion, according to a report.

Saudi Arabia tops the list of Middle East’s billionaires, with 64 highly wealthy individuals possessing $204 billion in 2013, the Wealth-X and UBS World Ultra Wealth Report was quoted as saying by the Arab News.

There are a total of 1,360 rich people in the country with a total wealth of $285 billion, the report said.

The UAE came second with 1,050 wealthy people with a total wealth of $190 billion, followed by Kuwait with 845 wealthy persons having $145 billion. The report said that 37 highly rich Emiratis possessed $45 billion.

"Despite ongoing economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the world’s ultra wealthy population reached an all-time high of 199,235 individuals with a combined fortune of nearly $28 trillion in 2013, growing by more than 6 per cent in population size from the previous year," the report said.

The report also identified more than 2,000 billionaires globally with a total net worth of $6.5 trillion.


85pc of GCC population to reside in cities

MORE than 45 million people – about 85 per cent of the total estimated population – are expected to reside in GCC cities by 2020, the United Nations has estimated.

The latest revision of the World Urbanisaton Prospects report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said a two per cent average annual urbanisation growth rate will exist across the Mena region until the end of the decade, as predominantly youthful populations gravitate toward cities in search of improved work opportunities and better lifestyles, said a report.

About 226 million people will be living in cities throughout the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) by 2020, accounting for nearly 62 per cent of the region’s total population, the report said.

The constant migration toward regional cities will put greater stress on already limited and underdeveloped urban infrastructure and resources.


UAE tops GCC in ‘happiness index’

THE UAE has topped Gulf states by positioning itself 14th globally in the World Happiness Report 2013 published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Oman claimed the 23rd place, followed by Qatar in 27th, Kuwait ranking 32 and Saudi Arabia in 33rd place, while Bahrain was ranked 79 out of 156 countries surveyed, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Sweden have ranked the highest levels of happiness, while Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, Benin and Togo are the unhappiest countries in the world.

The report surveyed a group of citizens in all 156 states between 2010 and 2012 using information from global research company Gallup.

Information collected featured elements of happiness such as life expectancy, freedom to make choices, perception of corruption, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, having someone to count on and generosity.


GCC food usage ‘growing at 4.6pc per year’

THE consumption of food in the GCC would reach 51.5 million tonness by the year 2015, with an annual increase of 4.6 per cent every year during 2011-2015, a report said.

The sale of food products in the UAE reached 7.73 billion in the year 2011 and is expected to rise by 36.1 per cent to reach 10.52 by the year 2015, added the recent study from Alpine Capital.


Kuwait consumer spending strong in H1

THE consumer spending in Kuwait registered solid growth in the first half on the back of solid salary increases in both public and private sectors and a steady employment data, said a report by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK).

According to NBK, the consumer spending growth has remained healthy, supported by the strength in consumer borrowing. The consumers’ point of sale transactions (POS) recorded a value of KD3.25 billion ($11.4 billion) during the first half, up 17.9 per cent from a year ago.

The spending has also received support from steady employment growth, especially among Kuwaiti civilians. Higher salaries for Kuwaitis in the public and private sectors were also an important factor, having taken effect largely during the second half of 2012, and continued to have an impact on year-on-year (y/y) growth, the report stated.

Employment growth among Kuwaiti nationals too has seen a slight pickup in 2013 following a moderating trend last year.

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