Muscat: Oman ranked number three for best business climate out of 50 emerging markets, according to the findings of the 2017 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. This is the third consecutive year the country was placed in third position for best business climate.
The index, now in its eighth year, offers an annual snapshot of industry sentiment and ranks the world’s leading emerging markets by size, business conditions, and transport infrastructure and connections. It includes a survey of more than 800 global logistics executives.
UAE gets first rank
The UAE ranked first, Qatar second, Bahrain fourth, Saudi Arabia seventh and Kuwait tenth in the category, bringing the total number of Gulf States in the top 10 to six, according to the survey report released on Tuesday.
Oman ranked thirteenth overall, holding the same position it did in the 2016 edition of the index.
To score business conditions, the index looked at the strength of the service sector, urbanisation, security, foreign investment, wealth distribution, and the levels of bureaucracy and regulation confronted by businesses.
Iran climbs to ninth position
The report said that Iran, emerging gradually from years of international isolation, leaped eight spots to eighteenth in the index. In Agility’s survey of logistics executives, Iran climbed to ninth position from fifteenth position among countries with the most potential to grow as logistics markets. Iran’s gains were the largest for any country in the 2017 index or the survey.
Bahrain climbed five spots in the overall rankings to twenty-third position, rebounding after years of social unrest that damaged its economy and dampened investment. Turkey improved ranking to ninth position, moving up one spot ahead of Russia, despite fallout from an attempted coup and extremist violence.
Logistics executives picked Syria, Libya and Iraq, all in the grip of violence and war, as the three emerging markets with the least logistics potential.
Also, China, the world’s second-largest economy, remains the world’s leading emerging market ahead of India, which climbed past the UAE to second position in the latest rankings. In the survey, supply chain executives identified the direction of China’s economy as the factor most likely to drive global economic and trade growth in 2017, the report noted.
Seventy-six per cent said China’s economy was slowing, but only 17 per cent said the slowdown was significantly hindering the transport and logistics sector. Nearly 66 per cent said slower growth will not alter their plans in China.
Robust growth and long-anticipated tax and economic reforms pushed India to the second position in the Index and impressed logistics executives responding to the survey. Even so, India’s surprise decision to remove high-denomination bank notes from circulation and encourage cashless payments could be jarring for the economy in 2017.
Despite upbeat views regarding India and Iran, industry professionals sounded a note of caution about the broad outlook for emerging markets. Nearly 69 per cent expressed concern that the UK’s Brexit vote and the failure of global and regional trade initiatives signal a threat to trade. A sizeable minority, 43 per cent, said the International Monetary Fund is too optimistic in forecasting 4.6 per cent growth for emerging markets in the coming year.
Africa’s biggest economies – Nigeria and South Africa – were among the countries that fell most sharply in the Index. Smaller African markets – Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya – improved their rankings in 2017.