DUBAI The United Arab Emirates ranked among the top five nations globally for consumer confidence despite fears over rising inflation in the oil-fueled economy, a U.S. research agency said on Wednesday.
Despite double-digit inflation, the UAE's strong economy and booming employment prospects won the Gulf Arab state 111 points on the Global Consumer Confidence Index compared with a worldwide average of 88 points, The Nielsen Company said.
"In the UAE, inflation is double-digit and there are soaring food prices. But on the other side, the economy is strong and job prospects look pretty bright," Piyush Mathur, the company's regional managing director, told reporters.
The index which ranked Norway first followed by India, is based on consumers' confidence in the job market, the status of their personal finances, and readiness to spend.
The United States scored 83 points and Britain logged 79 points according to the study conducted for the first half of 2008.
The standing of the UAE, which ranked fifth, dropped two points from the last survey in the second half of 2007, reflecting concerns over inflation. The United States fell 17 points.
Inflation in dollar-pegged UAE accelerated to 11.1 percent in 2007 compared with 9.3 percent in 2006.
The research, which spanned Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East, showed that consumer confidence worldwide has fallen to its lowest level since the survey began in 2004.
In the last six months, the consumer confidence index has seen the single largest drop in three years.
(Reporting by Jason Benham; Editing by Inal Ersan)