Qatar banking system stabilisation seen favourable: Markaz
November 06 2017 01:27 AM

Efforts to stabilise Qatar’s banking system has been “viewed favourably”, Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) has said and noted the “pressure” on sovereign ratings has been “alleviated”.
Recently, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings removed Qatar from its negative watch list, although the blockade on it by four Arab countries still remains. Qatar has been realigning its trade routes to bolster its economic security.
In its latest commentary, Markaz said Qatar’s banking sector has seen outflows close to the tune of $30bn since June this year. Following the financial sanctions imposed by Saudi-led quartet, non-resident deposits have reduced by $10bn and foreign interbank funding fell by $18bn. 
Thus, $28bn of external financing has been withdrawn from the Qatar financial system. To tide over the crisis, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is believed to have turned up as a lender of last resort by boosting deposits along with the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) that has almost compensated for the withdrawal of foreign funding.
The party time for GCC debt market continues with sovereign and other issues totalling $60bn for 2017 while 2018 also promises to be another active year for bonds. Abu Dhabi sold its inaugural 30-year sovereign bond as part of $10bn triple tranche debt issue in early October ahead of the US Federal Reserve meet to possibly effect another round of interest hike. 
Following the strong demand, Abu Dhabi tightened the pricing by 20 basis points (bps) across the three tranches. 
Oil price gained 6.7% for the month and ended the month above $60 for a barrel as signs of glut appear to diminish. However, oil price gains have failed to enthuse investors. 
Opec in its monthly report in October, for the third consecutive month since July, had raised its demand projection for crude next year. Further, it noted that the production-cutting deal with Opec and non-Opec producers is draining out the glut and that the market could flip into deficit next year. 
A stable oil price with potential upside, considering the extension of production curb deal, bodes well for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region.

Public sector deposits in banks jump to total QR302.6bn in September: MDPS
Public sector deposits with commercial banks in Qatar have seen a 2.5% increase in September, totalling QR302.6bn, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics has said. 
Compared to the same period last year, it shows an increase of 68.4%, MDPS said. Total broad money supply (M2) reached QR564.8bn in September, up 14.5% on September 2016. 
On the other hand, “cash equivalents” (including deposits) accounted for QR797.8bn in September, up 17.5% on September 2016. With regard to buildings permits’ issuance, the MDPS bulletin showed that total number of permits reached 472 in September, down 34.4% on August 2017. On electricity and water consumption, the bulletin showed that the total electricity utilisation in September was 4,383.3GWh, which represents a monthly reduction of 5.6%. 
The total water consumption accounted for 43,064,700m3 during the same month, down 5.2% compared to August. 
Qatar’s total population increased to 2.63mn in September, from 2.55mn in September 2016, registering an annual increase of 3.2% 
As many as 2,103 births were registered in September, while 175 death cases were reported during the same period.  
The total number of registered marriages was 284 in September, whereas the total number of divorces was 74. 
Nearly QR81.1bn was disbursed as social security benefits in September to 14,220 beneficiaries, MDPS said. 
In relation to traffic cases, the bulletin said a total of 417 cases were registered in September, representing a monthly decrease of 7.3%. As many as 11 traffic related deaths were registered in Qatar in September. 
The total number of registered new vehicles reached 4,140 in September, MDPS data showed. 
This, however, was 23.6% down on August, when the total number of registered new vehicles stood at 5,420.

To tide over the Gulf crisis, the Qatar Investment Authority is believed to have turned up as a lender of last resort by boosting deposits along with the Qatar Central Bank that has almost compensated for the withdrawal of foreign funding

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