Dubai: UAE consumers remain the most optimistic in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region, posting 102 index points, higher than the global average of 86, according to the latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index, which measures consumer sentiments worldwide.

However, consumers in other countries in the region are less optimistic, with the index dropping three points in Egypt, one point in Saudi Arabia and two points in Pakistan since April this year. South Africa's index, however, rose from 76 to 86 points.

Across the globe, India, Indonesia and Norway topped the list. Latvia and Japan emerged as the most pessimistic nations. In most countries, however, optimism is widely felt, with the index rising in 45 out of the 52 countries surveyed six months ago. Ukraine and Romania were recently added to the survey.

"Certainly consumers are getting more confident worldwide and more so in the UAE. They feel more comfortable about their financial situation and job security, hoping that the worst is over," said Piyush Mathur, Nielsen's regional managing director for Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.

Job security

As more people believe the worst of the financial storm has passed, the number of UAE residents worried over their job security in the next six months has dropped from 50 per cent in April to 40 per cent in October. However, job security remains a major concern for most of the residents.

For 29 per cent of the respondents, prioritising between career and ambition (work/life balance) over the next six months is a major concern, while 26 per cent cite the economy as either the biggest or second-biggest concern. More people are also starting to believe that the UAE is emerging from the slowdown, with 36 per cent of the residents saying they think the country will be out of the downturn in the next 12 months, up from 32 per cent six months ago.

However, 75 per cent of respondents believe the country is still in a downturn, although the number has dropped from 78 per cent in April. More than half of the respondents (63 per cent) are optimistic about the state of their personal finances over the next 12 months, up from 51 per cent.

There seem to be fewer savers this time, with 59 per cent of residents saying they are prioritising their nest eggs, down from 63 per cent in April.