Qatar’s private sector sees near 6% growth in 2018 despite volatile oil prices
December 15 2018 08:41 PM
HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi during a panel discussion at the Doha Forum on Saturd
HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi during a panel discussion at the Doha Forum on Saturday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.

Despite unstable oil prices, Qatar’s private sector witnessed an almost 6% growth in 2018, HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi said during a panel discussion at the Doha Forum on Saturday.

“We’ve seen some challenges worldwide in 2018…but for Qatar, this year is probably an exception. If you go back in 2017, especially at the start of the economic blockade, we’ve seen some outflows from Qatar but in 2018, it was a very good year and we’ve witnessed some growth, most of which came from the private sector,” al-Emadi said.

“Despite the volatilities in oil, the private sector achieved close to 6% growth in 2018,” said the finance minister, who was joined by Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing, and Financial Times Economics editor Chris Giles, who served as moderator.

Al-Emadi said Qatar witnessed “phenomenal growth in the last 20 years.” He also pointed to “three elements” that helped push growth: energy, connectivity, and financing.

He said more than 40% of Qatar’s energy exports went to emerging markets and that Qatar Airways had connected the country “to more than 100 cities in emerging markets.” He also said “Qatar has enjoyed a long term of surpluses from 1999 to close to 2014.”

On the wider emerging markets and the immediate future, al-Emadi said the success of emerging markets in the past decades “was mainly trade liberalisations, corporate governance, and connectivity.”

He said the second half of 2018 witnessed tension on trade issues, which he said, “is putting some concern” on the growth of emerging markets, including currency outflow and Brexit.

“In early 2019, if these issues are not addressed, they will also be considered as risks going forward,” the finance minister said.

He noted that emerging markets today “share about 56% of the global GDP and is projected to grow to close to 60% in the next five years,” and stressed that the impact of emerging markets on global growth “is very significant.”

“Whether we like it or not, the global economy is changing and it has been changing especially in the last two decades,” he said.

According to al-Emadi, the US “will remain as an important country” and “will remain as an economically-dominant country globally because of many reasons.” He also said the Far East “is always dynamic and progressive,” citing China and India as countries that are “always at the forefront of global growth.”

“We will see more activity from emerging markets and we will see them taking a big share of the global markets…we like what we are seeing in Indonesia and Malaysia because they are developing and progressing their economy. They must continue progressing their economic agendas, especially adopting best practices and corporate governance,” al-Emadi said.

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