The Sila GCC Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) is back with an improvement in conditions in September v. August, with the overall index rising to 57% in net positive territory with an increase of +5 points across the month, primarily driven by improvements in economic outlooks after a summer with inflationary consumer concerns.
Readers should note that the Index in August was at its lowest point in 12 months – reflective of the broader global inflationary and interest rate pressures facing consumers. This trend is shown in all the country charts, but with varying intensity.
Employment GCC Consumer Sentiment
Looking at each tracked dynamic, the Sila CSI has some interesting results. Continuing a trend in August, the Sila CSI Employment confidence reading has slid 16bps to 60% net positivity from a 14-month high of 76% in July.
Global outlooks are creating pressure issues around this trend, where news of contractions and job losses in western markets are filtering to an otherwise buoyant GCC market. There are implications for big-ticket consumer purchases as consumers become more concerned about employment prospects.
There appears to be a correlation between interest rates and negative employment confidence in the series, and D/A will study this in the coming months.
Economic and Business GCC Consumer Sentiment
After a dip in both economy readings and business in August (both at 51% in neutral territory, after respective falls of -7 and -6 bps), both have recovered, with economic sentiment raising +9bps to regain the losses in sentiment between May 2022 and August.
Business sentiment, however, recovered much slower, raising +2bps from neutral 51% to net positive 53%. This was after a cyclical couple of months saw oscillations hovering around neutral to positivity. This flat growth is linked to the rising interest rates and global economic scenario, despite continued positive sentiment towards the economy.
The detailed reports for Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar are available by clicking any country name. The sentiment trends for each country are:
- UAE Consumer Sentiment – the Sila CSI was up across all metrics after a fall in August across all indices. The business index remains strong, just off a series high, at +84%, a rise of 6bps. After a trend downwards, employment recovered 7bps to 72%, and belief in the economy was back to May 2023.
- Saudi Consumer Sentiment – has seen another rise in consumer sentiment across the month, but with less convincing positive sentiment across different indices. Employment is flat, while economic and business sentiment has led to growth.
- Kuwait Consumer Sentiment – off the back of political reform or announced reform, has changed for the better overall with some challenges present.
- Qatar Consumer Sentiment – still is suffering from high optimism about employment but delayed positivity getting through to the private sector and the general economic outlook.
About the Sila CSI
The Sila Consumer Sentiment Index The Sila (Arabic for connection) Consumer Sentiment Index (Sila CSI) is an index of over 100 million data points on social media and was developed in 2020 to measure perceptions of the economy, business and employment in the GCC. It excludes news and only focuses on conversations about those topics. The language is then analysed using Natural Language Processing and AI to determine sentiment in Arabic dialects.