Business sentiment less adverse in Qatar firms: KPMG
May 11 2020 09:16 PM

Despite Covid-19, the business sentiment has been less adverse in the local companies, as reflected in the (performance of) the Qatar Stock Exchange vis-a-vis other markets, according to KPMG Qatar, a global consulting firm.

"This is partly due to limited presence of external investors and a QR10bn government backstop for the stock market," KPMG Qatar Country Senior Partner Ahmed Abu-Sharkh said.

The government also offered a stimulus package of QR75bn to assist small business and hard-hit sectors.

He said the recent Moody's upgrade of Qatar’s rating to ‘Aa3’ with a "stable" outlook on April 15 is also a sign of a resilient economy.

The global credit rating agency had said the stable outlook reflects its assessment that Qatar’s credit metrics are likely to remain consistent with the 'Aa3' rating, even as oil prices remain subdued due to depressed global oil demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The stable outlook balances fiscal and economic risks stemming from the decline in oil prices with Qatar's very large fiscal and foreign currency reserve buffers in the form of sovereign wealth fund assets.

KPMG Qatar said the financial services sector in the country is better "shielded" than in the 2008 financial crisis by stronger capitalisation, a wider use of digital solutions and their expected role in transferring money from the government to distressed companies.

Although Qatar has been impacted by the new coronavirus, it seems to be weathering the storm better than many other countries.

"The rate of infection in the country is similar to Germany and the UK, but this has so far not been translated into a high mortality rate," the KPMG Qatar official said.

Abu-Sharkh said the enforcement of social distancing; its young population and a capable healthcare system have been aiding Qatar in its efforts to lessen the spreading and thus the impact of the pandemic.

KPMG said non-hydrocarbon sectors are likely to be struck at different levels of intensity in Qatar, depending on how they have been impacted during the lockdown period and their dependency on global trade.

Highlighting that Qatar has 324 respirators per million of population; he said "Qatar benefits from a well-supported healthcare system in comparison to other affected countries" and that Qatar’s population aged 65 and over is low; indicating a reduced risk of deaths.

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