RISING petrol prices have stalled BP’s recovery from the Macondo oil spill. In the two months from mid-April to mid-June the oil giant’s BrandIndex index score plummeted from +7 to -13 but since then it had seen a steady recovery and at +3 was getting close to where it started before, from mid-December onwards, high petrol prices began to hit perceptions of all the oil companies. BP slipped backed to -7, Shell dropped eight points and Esso six points. The Macondo incident did not impact BP’s rivals (often events like this can hit similar companies which become tarred by association) but once again in this sector we have seen how much price increases impact on perceptions across the board.
With views of petrol companies so closely tied to prices they will be watching the tension in North Africa and the Middle East with interest. The first post-Mubarak poll in Egypt, an online poll by YouGov Siraj, shows a mood of uncertainty grounded in optimism; whilst 49 per cent do not know who would form the next government, 85 per cent are expecting the country to improve and 77 per cent think their own situation will improve. Encouragingly three quarters also expect the country to respect its international agreements.
Only four per cent are expecting the Muslim Brotherhood to form the next government and most Egyptians are genuinely seeking a stable liberal democracy. When it comes to the next President, Amr Moussa is the clear leader with 49 per cent overall, well clear of Ahmed Zeweil (13 per cent) in second place and Omar Sulemain (nine per cent) in third. This support is consistent across all demographic groups, for example 51 per cent amongst those with a household income of less than $266 and 47 per cent amongst those above $1,065.
Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive of YouGov.