Qatar’s official foreign exchange reserves have “returned close to the pre-blockade level” while the overall liquidity in the financial sector has stabilised, according to HE the QCB Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani.

Qatar economy, Sheikh Abdulla noted in the latest edition (10th) of QCB’s Financial Stability Review, “has fully come out of the initial adverse impacts” from the economic blockade with normalisation of capital flows and strengthening of macroeconomic conditions.

In the middle of weakening global economy, Qatari economy showed a resilient performance during the review year.

Although real GDP growth was somewhat slower than the preceding year, other macroeconomic indicators including fiscal position, current account balance and stock market improved in 2018, he said.

Qatar financial sector, in particular the banking sector, “remained largely shielded” from the global economic gyrations and remained sound and robust, Sheikh Abdulla said.

Banking sector’s demonstration of resilience to the economic blockade facilitated the sector to regain the confidence of the international investors.

“Sovereign credit rating also upgraded during the year. Benign domestic macroeconomic conditions as well as the proactive steps taken by authorities to protect the economy from challenges associated with the economic embargo proved beneficial for the banking sector.

“Liquidity in the banking sector improved and the sector recorded a healthy growth in private sector credit,” Sheikh Abdulla noted.

Economic diversification measures undertaken by the government as envisaged in the National Vision 2030 facilitated Qatari economy to come out more stronger and diversified.

Going forward, construction and other investment activities are expected to continue with their healthy pace of growth in view of the ongoing infrastructure projects.

“Sustained growth in the real sector and financial sector will take Qatar to be one among the fastest growing economies,” Sheikh Abdulla said.

There have been significant changes in the global economy since the publication of QCB’s last review (9th FSR 2017).

From a recovery mode, the global economy weakened during 2018.

Unresolved trade issues, tightening financial conditions, and persistent geo-political tensions diminished the economic growth across economies.

The decline in global growth was mostly broad based among advanced economies and emerging and developing economies except US.

Energy prices, which rose steadily in the first three quarters of 2018, fell considerably in the last quarter of 2018, the QCB Governor said.

The current FSR provides a review of events influenced Qatar’s financial sector during the year 2018. The review also summarises the activities of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA).