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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 08/12/2012

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The Atlantis The Palm resort, one of Dubai’s most-visited destinations. Survey respondents cited the UAE’s tourism sector as beneficial to the country’s economy. — KT photo by Grace Guino
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Finance professionals in the UAE are most optimistic and confident about the country's economy while business confidence falls globally, according to a latest report.

The worldwide survey of 2,500 finance professionals indicated that confidence in global economy fell in the third quarter of 2012.

Respondents in the UAE cite growth in the tourism sector and an expanding pipeline of government and public-private sector funded infrastructure projects as being beneficial.

While some respondents in the UAE reported benefits from this growth, they were also mindful of increased long-term uncertainty for the entire region.

Sixty-seven per cent of professionals believe that the global economy is stagnating or reversing, but the picture for the UAE shows finance professionals are the most confident and optimistic in the global sample.

The 15th edition of the quarterly Global Economic Condition Survey, or Gecs, undertaken by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, or Acca, and the Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA, shows that for the UAE, 37 per cent reported confidence gains against 35 per cent who reported losses.

"The Middle East is now the most confident of the Gecs regions, with 30 per cent of respondents here reporting an increase in confidence, while 52 per cent believe the state of the global economy is improving. But respondents in the Emirates have on balance believed for most of the past year that the government is engaged in a sustainable programme of fiscal stimulus which will support growth," said Stuart Dunlop, head of Acca Middle East.

Looking at the global findings, the survey highlights continued uncertainty across the Asia-Pacific region, which is still feeling the effects of the economic downturn in China. The country was not the source of this pessimism, but rather its neighbouring countries, who are suffering not only the Chinese downturn but the persistently sluggish recovery of Western economies.

In contrast, the survey saw a glimmer of hope in Western Europe, where respondents said that they had started to see the beginnings of a credible plan to resolve the region's sovereign debt crisis, the promise of a more active role for the European Central Bank as well as continued efforts towards fiscal integration.

Survey editor Manos Schizas, senior economic analyst with the Acca and report author, said: "This quarter has seen business confidence fall for all the right reasons. Around the world, and with few exceptions, the fundamentals of the business environment are deteriorating, and businesses are once again having the kinds of liquidity problems we thought we had put behind us."

One theme that emerges clearly from the survey is the interconnectedness of the global economy from which the UAE is not immune.

"The slowdown in Asia, the eurozone debt crisis and the sluggish US recovery; all are feeding into each other and no region is unaffected; in fact, the degree to which movements in the GECS indices are synchronised between regions is uncanny," IMA vice-president of research Raef Lawson concluded.


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