More than half of UAE businesses feel 'strong' despite pandemic-driven slowdown

Businesses say they need to make adjustments including securing supply lines in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to HSBC

More than 70 per cent of companies surveyed in the UAE said they are taking steps to ensure the security of their supply chains in the wake of the pandemic, HSBC's survey found. Getty Images
More than 70 per cent of companies surveyed in the UAE said they are taking steps to ensure the security of their supply chains in the wake of the pandemic, HSBC's survey found. Getty Images

More than half of businesses in the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy, feel they have strong fundamentals, but need to make adjustments to deal with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, including strengthening their supply lines, according to HSBC.

Businesses in the country have felt the impact of the pandemic-driven economic slowdown and recognise the need to make operational changes to become more resilient, HSBC said in a new global survey, Building Back Better.

Fifty one per cent of the firms polled said they felt “strong overall” with necessary adjustments, while a quarter said they were challenged, but were able to survive. Only 5 per cent of respondents said they were “significantly” challenged and need to transform to survive the crisis, according to the report, which surveyed more than 2,600 companies in 14 countries and territories, including 100 businesses in the UAE.

“UAE businesses have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and we are seeing that come through in how they are adapting to new ways of working and in how they are accelerating transformational plans,” Daniel Howlett, HSBC’s regional head of commercial banking for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said. “It is vital that the UAE private sector pushes ahead with efforts to make their businesses more agile and more resilient.”

For many UAE businesses, supply chains have come into focus as the pandemic upended global trade and constrained supply of goods and materials for months from markets such as China and India.

More than 70 per cent of companies surveyed in the UAE said they are taking steps to ensure the security of their supply chains over the next one-to-two years. Around a third of UAE businesses are considering reviewing their supply chain partners’ ability to weather future uncertainty, while 30 per cent are considering diversifying their suppliers to work with more providers, according to the report.

The crisis has also forced businesses to rethink their technology investment strategies, with 64 per cent of UAE firms polled planning to invest in technology over a five-year period and another 25 per cent seeing it as a top priority.

Updated: July 21, 2020 05:52 PM

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