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Investor confidence intact in Qatari market: QCB chief

ASIF IQBAL

DOHA

PRUDENT and timely policies undertaken by the government in the face of eurozone debt crisis have instilled investor confidence in the Qatari market.

This was said by Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al Thani at the event ‘Qatar Projects’ in Doha on Monday.

“QCB is currently going as planned in merging organisations responsible for monitoring the financial sector. One of the steps was the establishment of Qatar Credit Information Center in March 2011 to enhance transparency,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

He said that QCB had made a number of initiatives to apply international standards in regulation, and one of those initiatives was the establishment of Risk Management Authority.

The authority is charged with studying systematic risks and recommending policies to counter them as well as raising awareness on the importance of risk management in any financial institution, he said.

According to the QCB governor, these bodies have been established as part of the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016, which is part of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

He said the resilience of Qatar’s financial market was evident from the growth reported by the banking sector.

“The financial sector saw a growth of 22.3 percent in 2011, compared to 2010, and total assets of the banks increased by QR 127 billion in 2011 to QR 694 billion,” the QCB governor added.

Shedding further light on the banking sector of the country, Sheikh Abdullah said deposits are now worth QR364 billion, compared to QR 307 billion in 2010.

The credit facilities went up by 28.2 percent to QR377 billion, while non-performing loans (NPLs) accounted only for 1.7 percent last year, he added.

The QCB governor noted that the financial turmoil in the eurozone has hit the global economy hard and it came when economies around the world were gradually limping from the economic crisis of 2008.

Qatar’s central bank is satisfied with the rate of credit growth for the real estate sector, the QCB governor said.

“Yes, I am satisfied with it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference, but declined to comment on the outlook.

Bank lending to the real estate sector has almost doubled over 2011. Its annual growth reached 95.1 percent in October, the fastest clip since at least 2008, before slowing to 61.7 percent in November, central bank data show.

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