Third of Saudi companies expect to grow by 10%

Saudi companies aremore optimistic about revenue growth than they were last year, according to new survey. (AN file photo)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Third of Saudi companies expect to grow by 10%

  • Saudi business leaders are also on a hiring spree, with 58 percent looking to recruit more full-time staff
  • Saudi business leaders also see the need to expand beyond the Kingdom if they are to become market leaders

RIYADH: A third of middle-market Saudi businesses expect to grow by at least 10 percent this year and more than half will hire extra full-time staff, a new survey suggests.

Saudi companies are significantly more optimistic about revenue growth than they were last year, according to the EY Growth Barometer, an annual survey of entrepreneurs’ and business leaders’ growth strategies produced by the global professional services company Ernst & Young.

“Company leaders ... in Saudi Arabia are riding a wave of ambition and confidence, as set out by Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program,” said Fahad Altoaimi, EY’s Saudi Arabia managing partner.

“Contrary to the common belief that regulation stifles innovation, Saudi executives believe that reforms set out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been driving change and growth.

“This is very encouraging for Saudi businesses — one of the key goals of Vision 2030 was to increase participation from middle-market businesses in the economy.”

Attitudes to new technology have also evolved rapidly. In 2017, 94 percent of Saudi respondents to the EY survey said they would never adopt robotic process automation. Now, 82 percent say they will have adopted AI by 2020 and implemented robotic process automation, with 95 percent of respondents planning to do so within five years.

According to the EY survey, Saudi business leaders also see the need to expand beyond the Kingdom if they are to become market leaders. Overseas expansion is the leading growth priority for 29 percent of respondents, while 18 percent of middle-market businesses are aiming to grow at home. 

Saudi business leaders are also on a hiring spree, with 58 percent looking to recruit more full-time staff. The greatest talent need, however, is more diversity, cited by 62 percent of Saudi Arabian respondents. 

 

 


Singapore woes ring trade alarm bells

Singapore has long been viewed as a barometer of the global demand for goods and services. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2019
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Singapore woes ring trade alarm bells

  • Governments have slashed economic growth forecasts, and gauges in several countries measuring activity in the manufacturing and services sectors paint a bleak picture

SINGAPORE: A plunge in exports and the worst growth rates for a decade have fueled concerns about the outlook for Singapore’s economy, with analysts saying the figures offer a warning that Asia is heading for a slowdown as China-US tensions bite.
While it may be one of the smallest countries in the world, the export hub is highly sensitive to external shocks and has long been viewed as a barometer of the global demand for goods and services.
The affluent city-state is highly dependent on trade and has traditionally been one of the first places in Asia to be hit during global downturns — with ripples typically spreading out across the region. The latest signs are not good. In June, exports collapsed 17.3 percent from a year earlier, the fastest decline in more than six years, led by a fall in shipments of computer chips.
That followed a shock 3.4 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction in GDP in the second quarter. Year-on-year growth came in at just 0.1 percent, the slowest pace since 2009 during the global financial crisis.
“Singapore is the canary in the coal mine,” Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Private Banking, told AFP. “And what it tells us is that it is a tough environment.”
To warn of danger, miners used to bring caged canaries underground with them as the birds would die in the presence of even a small amount of poisonous gas — signaling to workers that they should make a swift exit.

BACKGROUND

In June, exports in Singapore collapsed 17.3 percent from a year earlier, the fastest decline in more than six years, led by a fall in shipments of computer chips.

While steadily weakening growth in China is partly to blame for a slowdown in exports, analysts say the trade war between the US and China has dramatically worsened the situation.
While Singapore — a transit point for products heading to and from Western markets as well as the Asian base for manufacturers of some hi-tech goods — may be showing the strain most, negative data has emerged throughout the region.
Exports have been slipping across Asia. In India they plummeted 9.7 percent in June, in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, they dropped 8.9 percent in the same month while in South Korea they slipped 10.7 percent in May.
Governments have slashed economic growth forecasts, and gauges in several countries measuring activity in the manufacturing and services sectors paint a bleak picture.
Central banks are moving to spur domestic consumption, with Indonesia and South Korea cutting interest rates Thursday, the latest in Asia to lower borrowing costs.
Singapore’s central bank is seen as likely to ease monetary policy at an October meeting, and some economists are predicting the country could fall into recession next year.
“There are no winners in this trade war. While most of the attention has focused on the trade conflict between China and the US, the damage has not been confined to these two economies,” business consultancy IHS Markit said in a commentary.