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The Middle East, Africa region shows steady progress

Staff writer |
Consumer confidence increased in three of five countries measured in the Middle East/Africa region in the first quarter.

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At 115, the United Arab Emirates had the highest index in the region, an increase of one point from fourth-quarter 2014. Confidence also increased five points in Saudi Arabia to 107 and one point in Pakistan to 102. Conversely, confidence decreased one point in South Africa to 87 and remained steady in Egypt at 90.

In the region, sentiment about job prospects edged up one percentage point to 44%, while personal finances sentiment and immediate spending intentions remained flat at 60% and 39%, respectively, from fourth-quarter 2014.

Job confidence improved most in Egypt, rising three percentage points to 43%, while the personal financial outlook and immediate spending intentions rose four and five percentage points, respectively, in Pakistan from fourth-quarter 2014.

Recessionary sentiment declined in three out of five Middle East/Africa markets: Egypt and South Africa each declined two percentage points to 79% and 70%, respectively, and Saudi Arabia declined one percentage point to 43%.

Regionally, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending and saving intentions decreased or held steady for most lifestyle categories.

Spending intentions for home entertainment expenses, buying new clothes and taking holidays/vacations declined, while intentions for putting money into savings accounts increased and the percentages for investing and saving for retirement were flat from the previous quarter.

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