UAE CEO Survey shows executives largely upbeat despite regional tensions and global turbulence
Source: Matrix Dubai for OBG , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed January 16, 2019 12:40 pm

UAE. Confidence remains broadly high among the executives interviewed for the latest edition of the Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey, carried out by Oxford Business Group (OBG), even though they face considerable challenges caused by growing global economic and political uncertainty.

As part of its survey on the economy, the global research and consultancy firm asked 110 C-suite executives from across the UAE’s industries a wide-ranging series of questions on a face-to-face basis aimed at gauging business sentiment.

The results are now available to view in full on OBG’s Editors’ Blog

Over 60% of business leaders interviewed told OBG that it was likely or very likely that their company would make a significant capital investment within the next 12 months, a similar percentage to the results in last year’s survey.

An even bigger proportion (86%) reacted positively when asked about the country’s level of transparency for conducting business, describing it as high or very high, relative to the region, which will sit well with the authorities as they look to attract new investors.

Most of the business leaders interviewed also appeared keen to embrace digital disruption, according to OBG’s findings. Almost four-fifths (79%) said it was likely or very likely that their company would increase spending on smart technology, and research and development, within the next 12 months.

Asked which external event they thought could have the biggest impact the UAE economy in the short to medium term, beyond movements in commodity prices, the majority (over 60%) of respondents cited regional political volatility as their main concern, well ahead of multiple US Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, which was selected by 16% of those surveyed.

Commenting in his blog, Oliver Cornock, OBG’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor for the Middle East, said that given the turbulent international economic and political backdrop against which the latest survey on the UAE had been undertaken, the results were more positive, perhaps, than one might have imagined.

He added however, that while efforts to steer the economy away from a dependence on oil at the federate and emirate level were progressing, the UAE’s finances were now also feeling the weight of a dominant real estate sector.

“Property prices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have long been said to be bloated and over-inflated,” he said. “In both markets, the corrections seen in 2018 might be welcome by some, such as individuals looking to buy, but the broader reflection is of economic uncertainty, albeit for differing reasons.”

Cornock added that given the current climate of tension and uncertainty in the Middle East, it was only to be expected that most business leaders identified regional political volatility as their number one concern.

“Key players continuing to pursue controversial policies have often increased the negative rhetoric rather than reduced it. This is clearly not only a concern domestically, but internationally too,” he said. “Though businesspeople in the UAE remain upbeat on the whole, it is clear that they are well aware of geopolitics and both the domestic and global ramifications of economic policy.”

Cornock’s in-depth evaluation of the survey’s results can be found on OBG’s Editor’s Blog,
titled ‘Next Frontier’. All four of OBG’s regional managing editors use the platform to share their expert analysis of the latest developments taking place across the sectors of the 30+ high-growth markets covered by the company’s research.  

The OBG Business Barometer: CEO Surveys features in the Group’s extensive portfolio of research tools. The full results of the survey on the UAE will be made available online and in print. Similar studies are also under way in the other markets in which OBG operates.

Photo Caption: Oliver Cornock, OBG’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor for the Middle East

About OBG Business Barometer

OBG Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey Copyright (c). All rights reserved.

This survey has been designed to assess business sentiment amongst business leaders (Chief Executives or equivalent) and their outlook for the next 12 months. Unlike many surveys, the OBG Business Barometer is conducted by OBG staff on a face-to-face basis, across the full range of industries, company sizes and functional specialties. The results are anonymous.

OBG Business Barometer is based on data from companies with revenue within the following parameters, among others:

• 79% of companies surveyed were private
• 47% of companies surveyed were international
• 39% of companies surveyed were local
• 14% of companies surveyed were regional

The data generated allows for analysis of sentiment within an individual country, as well as regionally and globally. Additionally, comparisons can be drawn between both individual countries and regionally. The results are presented statistically within infographics and discussed in articles written by OBG Managing Editors.

OBG provides this survey, infographics and accompanying analysis from sources believed to be reliable, for information purposes only.

OBG accepts no responsibility for any loss, financial or otherwise, sustained by any person or organisation using it. For further information on the content of the survey, please contact: Oliver Cornock, Regional Editor for the Middle East, at

For further details about OBG and how to subscribe to our widely acclaimed business intelligence publication please visit

About Oxford Business Group
 Oxford Business Group is a global research and consultancy company with a presence in over 30 countries, from the Middle East, Asia and Africa to The Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on many of the world’s fastest growing markets, OBG has offices in London, Berlin, Dubai and Istanbul, and a network of local bureaus across the countries in which we operate.
Through its range of products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, tourism, energy, transport, industry and ICT. OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms: Economic News and Views, OBG Business Barometer - CEO Survey, Roundtables and conferences, Global Platform - exclusive video interviews, The Report publications and its Consultancy division.

Click here to subscribe to Oxford Business Group’s latest content

BI-ME Disclaimer: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.



date:Posted: April 24, 2019
UAE. Adoption of FinTech in Middle East is in infancy; GCC shows most promise; Banks at risk of disruption through lack of capital allocation to technology.
date:Posted: April 24, 2019
UAE. The economy in the Middle East is expected to grow this year by around 3.5%, finds the latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA and IMA.
date:Posted: April 23, 2019
UAE. The report also highlights the impact of AI on the education sector. All respondents see potential for AI to support student success through adaptive learning and providing more impactful student support.