Consumer confidence in certain Middle Eastern countries has fallen in the first quarter of 2013, according to a study from market research group Nielsen.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, which polled more than 29,000 online users in 58 countries worldwide, recorded double-digit declines in consumer confidence in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose indices fell by 20 and 16 points respectively from the last quarter of 2012.
Pakistan saw its index fall by seven points to 87, while confidence in the United Arab Emirates dropped by five index points to 108, which remained the highest index throughout the Middle East and Africa region.
According to Nielsen, the declines reflect "negative sentiments about personal finances and job prospects". Over a quarter of respondents in the region revealed that they had no remaining cash once living expenses had been paid, a rise of 5 per cent from the end of last year.
“Egypt’s decline in consumer confidence comes as no surprise, as the country’s unsettled political conditions and civil unrest continues,” said Rammohan Rao, managing director of Nielsen Egypt.
The drop in Saudi Arabia is more of a mystery. The latest poll puts consumer confidence at an all time low of 95, which comes within the range of "pessimistic" for the first time.
Elsewhere in the region, Israel and South Africa recorded small increases in consumer confidence for the first quarter, to 91 and 78, both remaining in the "pessimistic" range.