DOHA: With Qatari economy proving resilient to the more than one-year-long blockade, the country now regards the blockade as a ‘new normal’ for the region and is confident that the strong economic performance and resilience seen over the last year will continue, QNB Group Chief Executive Officer Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari has said.
The QNB GCEO was speaking in a seminar on ‘Views from the C-Suite: Global Outlook,’ held on the sidelines of the 2018 IIF Annual Meeting in Bali, Indonesia. The economy of Qatar has shown resilience since the blockade was imposed on Qatar over a year ago. The country’s GDP which grew by 1.6 % in 2017 is expected to further grow by 2.6 % in 2018.
The non-hydrocarbon sector, which is now more than 50 % of the economy, is continuing strong growth. A 5 percent growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector is expected this year after solid growth of 3.6 % in 2017 despite the blockade. Key drivers of non-hydrocarbon growth are the construction, trade and logistics, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, he said.
The QNB GCEO also highlighted Qatar’s trade flexibility as exports have grown by 31 % since the start of the blockade, with trade re-routes especially to India and Turkey but also through growing LNG demand from Asia.
He described the Qatari financial system as healthy and resilient, noting that asset quality is high with NPLs at 1.6 %.
The country’s banking system is well-capitalised as Tier 1 capital adequacy was 16.5 % in 2017 while profitability is also high with ROE almost 14 %. Placing at Aa3, Qatar is one of the highest rated sovereigns in the world.
The two-day 2018 IIF Annual Meeting got off in Bali on Friday, in the presence of an influential audience of 500 policymakers, CEOs, market experts, and innovators in the banking, financial and economic sectors.
Several senior industry leaders participated at the seminar, including Vijay Chandok, Executive Director at ICICI Bank, Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive at Standard Life Aberdeen plc, Jean Lemierre, Chairman of the Board, BNP Paribas, and Axel A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chairman, UBS Group AG, IIF.
The topics discussed during the seminar highlighted a few key issues, including economic and policy outlook and key risks for Asia and the global economy over the next year. Panelists also discussed their implications for financial markets and fund flows, as well as, the outlook for the emerging market economies.