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85% of sultanate’s residents feel they are not saving enough for future: Survey

Muscat - 

Oman has been ranked third when it comes to an increase in saving sentiments. Bahrain takes the first spot followed by UAE.

Saudi Arabia stands fourth, according to the results of the 2012 National Bonds GCC Savings Index, released on Friday by National Bonds Corporation PJSC, a UAE-based Sharia-compliant savings scheme and investment company.

However, 85 per cent of respondents in Oman don’t think their savings are enough for their future, according to the survey.

The index shows that residents of Qatar have shown the biggest decrease in savings sentiment. According to the index, the trend of intermittent or lack of savings has continued in 2012, with 74 per cent of people in Saudi Arabia and 71 per cent of people in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain admitting that they do not save regularly.

The only country that improved significantly in this regard is UAE, where 65 per cent of respondents made the same claim. Worryingly, 85 per cent of Omanis believe that their savings are not adequate for their future. In Saudi Arabia, 92 per cent of residents shared this sentiment. Other GCC countries too displayed similar pessimism with Kuwait (91 per cent), Bahrain (88 per cent), UAE (87 per cent) and Qatar (84 per cent). Only two per cent in Oman classed their savings for future as ‘more than enough’. The percentage was just one in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Seventy one per cent of respondents in Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain feel their savings are less than they had originally planned, revealing a need for better education on the mechanisms and tools of savings.

In Kuwait, this sentiment was shared by 78 per cent of respondents. Forty-five per cent of the people in GCC said they save only ten per cent of their income or less.

On the positive side, residents of Oman and Kuwait expressed the most interest in increasing their savings in the next six months (76 per cent and 70 per cent respectively). Half of those surveyed foresee their income to increase in the next six to 12 months, while only six per cent believe that their income may decrease in the same period. The survey covered 1,140 residents of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, and 611 residents of UAE.

The index also shows come common challenges of GCC states. In Qatar, the percentage of people spending more on products and services is higher than in any other GCC country. Qatar residents also lead in increases in spending on eating out (33 per cent) followed by UAE (30 per cent), Kuwait (27 per cent) and Oman (26 per cent).

Children’s education and retirement were unanimously chosen as two of the top three reasons for saving money across all six GCC countries.

The ability of the savings scheme or company to guarantee invested capital was the third highest priority in Saudi Arabia, but ranked much lower in Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Mohammed Qasim al Ali, CEO of National Bonds Corporation PJSC said, “Our UAE and GCC savings indices are eagerly awaited measurement tools, as they not only reflect the current economic environment but act as important indicators regarding the direction in which the economy is heading or is perceived to be heading by its people. Our results actually showed that less than a fifth of people in GCC consult financial advisors when selecting their savings plans and instruments, preferring to make the decision by themselves or consult their spouse, family, friends, or work colleagues first.”

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