An annual poll of more than 11,000 firms in 39 countries conducted by the accountancy, tax and business consultant, found 78% of UAE businesses were ‘very’ or ‘slightly’ optimistic about economic growth.
The figure placed the UAE, the most well-known emirates of which are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, on a par with Switzerland and Brazil, which also recorded figures of 78%.
The most upbeat country was Chile, in which 95% of respondents were positive about growth. It was followed by India, at 93% and the Philippines, at 87%.
According to the survey, 74% of UAE businesses expected revenue to grow in 2011, while 56% believed there would be increased profitability.
In contrast, UK businesses were some of the most pessimistic in the survey, with only 10% expressing optimism about growth in 2011. The global average was 23% of firms positive about growth.
The debt-stricken EU countries of Greece, Ireland and Spain all reported negative sentiment, ranging from minus 44% to minus 47%. Japan recorded the lowest score, minus 72%.
Hisham Farouk, international practice partner for Grant Thornton UAE, said: "Compared with Western economies, the Middle East-based businesses remain more optimistic due to stable income from oil reserves, greater disposable income, growing youth population and increased investment opportunities."