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Satyendra Pathak
Increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) into Qatar despite an overall downturn in FDI in the region reflects continued confidence of international investors in Qatar’s economy, chief executive of QFC Authority (QFCA) said on Tuesday.
Addressing a conference entitled ‘Financial Markets Outlook in 2019’ organised by CFA Society Doha in strategic partnership with Qatar Financial Centre, QFCA CEO Yousuf Mohamed al Jaida said Qatar saw a significant 27 percent increase in FDI inflows between 2016 and 2017 thanks to rich offerings of Qatar’s markets.
“The rising trend is continuing as driving the growth of FDI inflows to Qatar remains our most important mandate, and we will continue to focus on this in 2019 and beyond,” he said.
While the global economic landscape remains as volatile as ever, he said, Qatar’s economy has undoubtedly persevered both international and regional turbulence.
Not only have global agencies upgraded the banking sector’s ratings, but their forecast for 2019 reflects continued confidence in Qatar’s economy, he said.
In fact, last week Moody’s noted that Qatar banks will continue to have a stable outlook for 2019, in their ‘GCC Banks for 2019’ report, he said.
Citing improving operating conditions, solid loan performance and strong capital, he said, Qatar’s banking system is stable in all the seven components of credit drivers, one of only two countries in the region to do so.
The 2019 outlook for other financial indicators is also promising, he said.
“Last month, the IMF projected that Qatar’s GDP will grow by 2.4 percent in 2018 which is perhaps the clearest indicator of the versatility of the economy and its robust financial sector,” Jaida said.
Citing a recent Bloomberg report, he said, overseas institutional investors were net buyers of about $$2.3 billion of shares that were traded on Qatar’s stock exchange this year, which is more than triple the foreign flows of some neighbouring countries. ”This is of course due to Qatar’s well-established economic resilience, as well as prudent national fiscal policies that provide a comprehensive framework for foreign investors,” he said.
“This is precisely what the Qatar Financial Centre offers businesses looking to expand to the region and beyond. It is a unique platform with many unmatched advantages,” he said.
Highlighting the growth of QFC in the recent years, he said, “We have seen excellent growth and we are proud to say that we have over 590 firms registered on our platform today, which is well past the 50 percent mark of our strategic goal of registering 1,000 firms by 2022.”
The conference, which brought together policymakers, industry experts and investment and financial market participants from across Qatar, provided a platform for financial market professionals in Qatar to share their insights and views on the current and future trends impacting the financial markets.
CFA Institute EMEA Managing Director Gary Baker said, “Qatar has made great strides in building an efficient and transparent financial sector. Qatar’s goals such as enhancing investor protection through standards and codes of conduct and building talent through professional development are aligned with the mission of CFA Institute.”
The key note speeches were followed by a panel discussion comprising of industry experts. The panelists shared their views on current status of Qatar’s economic and business environment and future challenges and opportunities.
The panel also discussed major headwinds facing the global economy in 2019, particularly the impact of trade war and interest rate
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