Qatar's real economic growth will remain stable between 2019 and 2030 and average 3.1% during the period, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The country's economic diversification investment projects will also “sustain robust growth” until 2030, the EIU said in its latest country update.
“There remains potential for bursts of high growth if further gas export projects, beyond those planned for the mid-2020s, are approved by the government. Diversification and the expansion of the services sector, funded by the state's hydrocarbons wealth, will also provide opportunities for growth,” EIU said.
The population will continue to increase, largely through immigration, to 3.9mn in 2050.
In terms of sovereign risk, the EIU said the state is expected to fully meet its external obligations, given its large and stable stock of foreign reserves and the fact that the public debt stock remains low by comparison with the similarly rated sovereign.
The threat of capital outflows in the wake of the regional blockade has largely subsided with the recovery and subsequent stabilisation of foreign reserves and the return to a current-account surplus in 2018. This will be maintained, albeit at a lower level in 2019 20.
Moreover, reserves at the Qatar Investment Authority (the sovereign wealth fund) provide strong underlying support for maintaining the currency peg to the dollar, EIU noted.
Qatar’s banking sector, the EIU noted is “supported by strong regulation and solid capital and liquidity” indicators. Commercial banks have been increasing liquidity from abroad in the form of a number of recent debt issues, and cash injections from the QIA have further “bolstered” their liquidity.
On the QIA stepping up its investment drive, the EIU said the sovereign wealth fund’s purchase (through an affiliate) of a stake in Oryx Midstream Services, a Texas-based oil pipeline operator “reflects the Qatari fund's stated aim to rebalance its portfolio away from a historic focus on Europe towards the US and Asia.”
According to the QIA, Mansoor al-Mahmoud, its chief executive, stated that the investment in Oryx was a "demonstration of QIA's strategy to increase the size of our US portfolio and to invest more in major infrastructure projects."
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