Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Upbeat in the UAE...Life goes on!

Reading through news reports on the daily life here is already depressing on the inflation and other escalating cost of living. Not to include incessant traffic jams and declining currency rate. Forget about Malaysia's political and economic situations for a while since it could lead to more depressions.

There are options and choices to be made during this trying time. There are always opportunities for those who can see them from brighter perspectives. We have to be a part of solutions, not problems.

The following report adds some spices as food for thought. The thought of leaving the UAE for another hijrah has been running wild for some time. I took the risk in 2000 to land here and it was proved to be one of the better decisions in my life. Looking back, it was a quantum leap into the future, which is now 9 years later.

The future is still there, albeit shorter and more challenging for the parents like me and wife, but the future is for our children to shape their destinations and destiny.

Until then, life goes on!

The latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index has discovered that 56% of online consumers believe their country is currently in recession, the lowest level since the survey began in 2004.
However the gloomy economic outlook is not replicated in the UAE where the Index stands at 111, a drop of only two points, indicating consumers are happy to splash out despite costs flying up.
"The UAE is confident while the rest of the world is becoming very pessimistic. The US, New Zealand and Latvia had the steepest fall in confidence. The UAE economy is strong as the job prospects are booming," said Piyush Mathur, regional managing director, Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, The Nielsen Company.

What are consumers' major concerns in the next six months? The first choice was not the economy, according to Mathur, and people say they are not feeling a huge impact.
"The landscape is changing as the boundary between life and work is becoming inseparable, and people want healthier lifestyles."
The latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 88 - down six points in the last six months - the largest single drop the Index has recorded in the last three years.
The largest half-yearly survey of its kind, the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey provides insight into current confidence levels, spending intentions and the major concerns of consumers across the globe.
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumers' confidence in the job market, status of their personal finances and readiness to spend. The online survey was carried out in countries with high levels of Internet penetration.
The Index has dropped in 39 countries, with double-digit drops in 15 national. Only nine surveyed territories have witnessed an increase in consumer confidence: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Poland, Brazil, Canada, Belgium, Taiwan, Egypt and the Czech Republic.
The US and the UK Indexes stand at 83 and 79 respectively, compared to the UAE Index at 111.
More than 20% of UAE respondents identified the work-life balance as their biggest concern over the next six months, ahead of the economy (15%), job security (11%), children's education and welfare (9%), parents' welfare and happiness (8%), debt (6%), health (5%), global warming (4%), war (3%), terrorism (3%), political stability (3%), crime (1%) and immigration (1%).
After covering essential living expenses, UAE respondents use their extra cash in the following ways: putting it into savings (58%), new clothes (33%), paying off credit cards and loans (30%) holidays (28%), new technology (27%), home improvements (25%), investments in stocks (24%), out-of-home entertainment (23%) and in a retirement fund (9%), while 8% of people said they had no extra money.
Questions addressed spending preferences once essential living expenses were covered, the biggest and second-biggest concerns over the next six months and the primary concern in the event of a downturn in the local economy.

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