01 August 2014

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


Mideast backs luxury goods market

THE luxury goods sector remains resilient despite the economic challenges, thanks to support from the Middle East and Africa region along with Asia Pacific and Latin America which will account for 25 per cent of the market by 2025.

The world’s 75 largest luxury goods companies generated luxury goods sales of $171.8 billion through the end of the last fiscal year (fiscal years ended through June 2013) despite a slowdown in the global economy, said a report.

The average size of the Top 75 companies was $2.3 billion in luxury goods sales, according to Deloitte’s first Global Powers of Luxury Goods report.

“Despite operating in a troubled economic environment, luxury goods companies fared better than consumer product companies and global economies generally. For the remainder of this year, we expect growth in developed economies to pick up speed while significant risks in emerging markets remain,” explained Antoine de Riedmatten, Deloitte Global Industry Leader.

“Overall performance of the luxury sector will depend not only on economic growth, but on factors such as volume of travel, protection of intellectual property, consumer propensity to save, and changing income distribution,” he stated.

“As the global economy recovers, the global luxury industry is generally expected to grow but in the Middle East, the luxury sector will remain strong this year as we continue to experience a robust consumer market and economic growth,” remarked Herve Ballantyne, the consumer business and transportation leader in Deloitte Middle East.

The Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America accounted for a combined 19 per cent of the luxury market in 2013 and the regions are projected to grow to 25 per cent in 2025, according to Euromonitor.

“The appetite for European and American brands remains strong in emerging markets, so these companies are bolstering their presence in these regions,” continued de Riedmatten.

The report focuses on the high concentration of luxury goods companies headquartered in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

These six countries represented nearly 87 per cent of the top 75 luxury goods companies and accounted for more than 90 per cent of global luxury goods sales in 2012.


Bahrain tops e-government survey

BAHRAIN has been ranked top among Arab countries in a UN e-government survey.

It was placed 18th overall of 193 countries included in the UN e-Government Survey 2014, up 18 positions from 2012, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The country was ranked seventh globally for online service delivery, behind the US in sixth position and ahead of Australia at eighth. It was also the only country in the Middle East apart from Israel to rank “very high” on the e-Government Development Index.

“Within the GCC, Bahrain ranks 18th globally, followed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman,” said the report.

“Bahrain has set up a Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology and the e-Government Authority was established to provide direction in developing and implementing a comprehensive e-government strategy.”

In terms of “e-participation” Bahrain was placed 14th, up five places from 2012. Bahrain was also classified for the third consecutive time in the top eight in the Global Web Index.


Qatar raises growth forecast to 6.3pc

QATAR’S economy is likely to grow 6.3 per cent this year, much faster than previously expected and well ahead of other oil exporting Gulf states, helped by robust domestic demand, a report showed.

Gross domestic product growth in the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas is forecast to hit 7.8 per cent in 2015, its fastest rate since 2011, said the report of the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. It was 6.5 per cent in 2013.

“Although receding hydrocarbon output is seen checking overall growth in 2014, with the commissioning of the Barzan gas project in 2015 a step increase in gas output is expected, taking aggregate growth higher,” the ministry said.

By comparison, Qatar’s fastest growing neighbour, the UAE, is expected to expand by 4.3 per cent this year.

Qatar had previously forecast 2014 growth of 4.6 per cent, citing reduced output from maturing oil fields.

The Opec member’s fiscal surplus is forecast to narrow to 9.3 per cent of GDP in calendar 2014 and to 5.5 per cent in 2015 from an estimated 12.9 per cent in 2013, as the government’s large investment programme gathers pace ahead of hosting the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.

In the 2013/14 fiscal year, which ended in March, the government’s overall surplus was estimated at 94.6 billion riyals ($25.98 billion), equivalent to 12.6 per cent of GDP and up from 11.2 per cent in the previous year, the report said.

“Most of the increase came from the transfer of QP’s (Qatar Petroleum) entire financial surplus to the government,” it said.


Ford tops global green brands ranking

FORD Motor Company was recently recognised for its commitment to sustainability, ranking No 1 on Interbrand’s 2014 list of the 50 Best Global Green Brands.

Ford claimed the top spot for its forward-thinking approach to environmentally responsible and sustainable manufacturing, greater transparency about its business operations, and for disclosure of information, particularly in the area of manufacturing.

Ford’s focus on water, highlighted in the company’s recently released 15th annual Sustainability Report, as well as its waste-reduction and green building efforts, contributed to the company’s rise to the top.

When identifying the top 50 Best Global Green Brands each year, Interbrand starts with the 100 brands that make up its annual Best Global Brands report. Brands that appear on this annual ranking have a global presence and a demonstrated record of delivering value to their stakeholders.

“Over the past few years, Ford has proven to be a sustainability leader,” noted Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global chief executive officer.

“Sustainability is fully integrated into Ford’s overall business strategy. As such, the company is able to swiftly identify and address its impact on the environment and society across every facet of its operations.

“Continuing to invest in alternative energy sources and fuel-saving technologies – and educating consumers on its benefits, will be key to enhancing its business and brand value over time,” said Frampton.

The automaker beat out last year’s winner – Toyota – along with corporate heavy-weights Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

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