Saturday 21 July 2018

Qatar economy growth slowest since 1995: report

ABU DHABI, August 18, 2017

Qatar’s economy will grow this year at the slowest pace since 1995, according to international economists, as the impact of the Arab boycott is felt on trade and investor confidence, a report said.

Gross domestic product will grow 2.5 per cent in 2017 and 3.2 per cent next year, compared with 3.1 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively, reported Emirates news agency Wam, citing a survey published by Bloomberg recently.

Economists now expect a budget deficit of 5.1 per cent of GDP this year, up from 4.6 per cent, while the forecast for inflation dropped to 2.2 per cent from 2.5 per cent.

"Even before the diplomatic crisis with regional powers, it looked like Qatar’s non-energy economy would slow," said William Jackson, senior economist for emerging markets at Capital Economics. "The early signs are that the sanctions dealt a damaging blow to Qatar’s economy in June. The impact appears to be temporary, but it will still result in weaker growth."

The country has been forced to tap into its foreign currency reserves and borrow from debt markets to support its economy, which is facing the prospect of posting a fiscal deficit. Its sovereign wealth fund has been compelled recently to reduce its stake in Credit Suisse to 4.94 per cent.

While global credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the sovereign ratings of Qatar and changed the outlook of some of the leading corporate entities with negative implications, other rating agencies have warned of potential rating downgrade and or change in outlook to negative.

Moody's Investors Service has recently changed the outlook on Qatar's rating to negative from stable, saying the key driver for the outlook change to negative is the economic and financial risks arising from the Arab boycott.

The boycott is squeezing the tourism sector as well, as Doha's hotels have seen steep falls in their occupancy rates. Elsewhere in the tourist sector, hotels, restaurants and other facilities have had to find new sources of services and goods, in some cases, at higher cost, due to the boycott, said Rashid Abu Baqer, senior director at TRI Consulting in Dubai, to Reuters.

Tags: terrorism | GDP | Qatar economy |

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