Low delinquent loans and higher cushion of capital facilitated sustainable expansion of Qatari banking system’s balance sheet, HE the QCB Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani has said.

The adoption of regulatory standards in par with best international standards improved the shock-absorbing capacity and ensured financial resiliency in Qatar’s banking sector, Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani said and noted the country’s banking sector, the mainstay of the financial sector, remained “safe, sound and solid.”

Liquidity conditions in the banking system have improved with the normalisation of capital flows and the consequent accumulation of net foreign assets by QCB.

The developments in technological innovations are taking a key role in digitally enhancing the financial sector.

The fintech echo system, which is being developed, is expected to enable the financial sector stakeholders to adapt with new emerging technologies, Sheikh Abdulla said.

“The entrepreneurship in this area is well-supported with Qatar Development Bank while Qatar Financial Center is attracting new entrants to the market.”

Going forward, Sheikh Abdulla said the future direction of the global economic growth depends on the duration and severity of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The restriction on the economic activity may affect the growth prospects to a certain extent. The current outlook for energy prices also poses some challenges.

However, Qatar has showed its ability to come out of such challenges as evident from the earlier instance of drop in oil price and the economic blockade in 2017.

“Moreover, the host of measures we have taken to support our financial sector and the gradual upturn in economic activity is likely to benefit the Qatar’s economy,” Sheikh Abdulla said.

The increased macroeconomic stress from tighter financial conditions, geopolitical tensions and escalated trade barriers weighed on the global economic growth in 2019, he said.

The global growth was at its lowest level during the year since the financial crisis during the year. The slowdown of economic growth was evident both in advanced and emerging market economies.

Sheikh Abdulla noted, “Downward pressure on the oil prices added further worry for the oil exporting countries. Uncertainties from the trade disputes and stress from geopolitical tensions posed challenges to the financial markets across the globe.

“Amidst these headwinds, the monetary policy easing by most of the central banks in the second half of the 2019 provided positive signals to the financial markets and a global recovery. The global risk sentiments appear to have diminished with some stabilisation observed in the global financial markets towards the end of 2019. However, the brake out of Covid-19 pandemic came as a bolt from the blue moon.”

He said, “The global economic uncertainties and volatile energy markets lead to contraction in the economic activity in Qatar during 2019. At the same time, the current account and fiscal account remained surplus, which provided the necessary impetus to continue infrastructural related activities.

“The institutionalisation of Investment promotion agency and the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) law allowing 100% foreign direct investment enhanced the role of the private sector. Reflecting the rising productivity and efficiency, the ranking of Qatar in the global competitiveness index improved further.”

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