Consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia has jumped to 48.4 percent, buoyed by economic incentives, oil price growth and positive public news, according to a survey by D/A.

The score is 1.6 percent away from net positive, according to the artificial intelligence driven research company, and represents an increase of 4.6 percent from January to February, suggesting Saudis are optimistic about avoiding a fallout from the current geopolitical conflict, the company said. 

 The research also found that consumer sentiment towards the company was 92.8 percent in February, up by 1.5 percent, while business sentiment grew by 3.8 percent to 31.4 percent.

Overall, GCC net consumer confidence reached 58.1 percent, up by 0.7 percent.

However, employment consumer sentiment marginally fell by 0.1 percent, still remaining in high net positivity territory, which D/A said could be attributed to a calm market.

Paul Kelly, managing partner D/A, said: “After being flat for months, business sentiment has risen sharply.

“Several factors have contributed to this jump in private sector confidence, most notably the impact of high oil prices. This has, in turn, eroded six months of stagnant growth and in some instances, decline, thanks to this trickle-through effect.

“Furthermore, Saudi consumers appear to be optimistic about avoiding any fallout from current geopolitical conflict, while remaining confident in the Saudi government’s ability to control inflation and therefore less worried about the impact this might have.”

From a GCC perspective, overall, as well as net consumer confidence, business confidence grew by 1.3 percent as concerns about regional politics, global economies, and socio-political conflicts subside, D/A said. 

Employment sentiment recorded a month-on-month increase of 2.9 percent.

However, consumer confidence in the economy reduced in the GCC by 0.5 percent in February to 60.4 percent, which D/A said was driven mainly by the significant increase in living costs associated with high oil prices and global supply constrictions.

“The GCC certainly appears to have snapped back from January’s declines, predominantly led by sentiment towards business and employment. It is worth noting that economic consumer confidence across most GCC countries registered positive sentiment. However, the contraction in confidence in the UAE has led to the decline,” said Kelly.

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)