The Qatar Central Bank’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves have gone up 4.8% month-on-month in April to $39.8bn, data provided by QNB indicate.
This equates to 6.3 months of import cover, QNB said in its latest ‘Qatar Monthly Monitor’.
Higher oil prices have resulted in a growth in both Qatar’s exports and imports, the report said.
Higher forex enhances the QCB’s capacity to intervene in the country’s foreign exchange market and control adverse movements, if any, and stabilise the foreign exchange rates to provide a more favourable economic environment for the country’s progress.
It also increases the confidence in the monetary and exchange rate policies of the government.
Qatar’s exports grew 27.3% year-on-year in April and imports grew 3.1% y-o-y.
The country’s current account surplus widened to 6.4% of GDP in Q4 in line with higher oil prices while the financial account deficit narrowed.
Qatar’s broad money supply (M2) grew by 11.6% year-on-year in April compared to 16.1% y-o-y in March.
The inter-bank rates continue to rise in line with increases in US short-term rates.
In the banking sector, the local banks have seen their assets growing 3.5% y-o-y in April. Bank deposits grew 1.7% y-o-y in April and credit growth was 3.7% in April.
The report showed that deposits from the non-resident and private sector remained stable in April.
Currently, 18 banks operate under the QCB, of which 11 are national banks. Four of these are Islamic banks.
According to QNB, Brent crude prices rose to an average of $77 a barrel in May.
The country’s 2018 budget has taken $45 for a barrel as the conservative oil price, same as that of 2017. With the oil price remaining much higher than the budgeted $45, Qatar is very likely to generate a huge surplus by the year-end.
At the same time Qatar’s oil production rose to 616,000 bpd in March from 539,000 bpd.
The country’s industrial production rose to 1.4% y-o-y in April. The real estate price index continued its recovery, rising 1% m-o-m in March.
Qatar’s 5-star and 4-star occupancy rates remained flat at 60% and 62% respectively, QNB said.
Qatar’s population grew 1.2% y-o-y, reaching 2.73mn in May; women made up close to 26% of the population, QNB said.