Qatar economic prospects seen brighter on LNG lead
May 21 2020 07:58 PM
Thaddeus Malesa
Thaddeus Malesa

Qatar's strong global connectedness will stand in good stead over the medium term and its long term prospects look bright as Doha builds on its competitive advantage in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, a top official of the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) has said.

Addressing a webinar, Thaddeus Malesa, senior adviser, Economics and Research of the Financial Sector Office at the QFC, also said there were certain "bright spots" in Qatar such as information and communication, which are "impervious" to coronavirus.

Over the short and medium-term, Qatar would not only foster and expand international connections, but also leverage international holdings to source and extract both resources and services it needs to overcome Covid-19 related challenges and use Qatar Airways Cargo, as well as Milaha to execute this, he said.

Highlighting that Qatar’s overall position is vastly better relative to the average energy exporter; Malesa said as Qatar’s economy is strongly connected to its global partners and customers, it will be able to build on its competitive advantage in the country’s key resource over the long-term.

The immediate impact on Qatari economy is imposed by mandated shut-ins; he said, adding Qatar is no exception to the majority of large global economies, and is expected to contract 4.3% in 2020, quoting the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In terms of economic activity or national accounts, Malesa said, "We do have some promising opportunities in sectors that are almost impervious to coronavirus" and that includes information and communication, financial and insurance activities, public services, education, health services and household services.

"Less than 15% of economic activity, in real terms, is perfectly safe; while 20% is high risk," Malesa said, adding the hydrocarbons and manufacturing sectors may be less of a concern than at the first glance, as they are largely "ring-fenced".

"With a solid stimulus plan enacted, government institutions working collaboratively and progress on the NFE, Qatar's economic future looks bright," he said.

In the long run, he said Qatar Petroleum would be able to improve upon its advantageous position in LNG. Through Qatar’s NFE, Qatar would greatly expand its production capacity, gain market share, and retain its position as one of the world’s least cost producers.

He had earlier said Qatar’s immediate economic prospects have been lifted with the multifaceted stimulus plan instated by the government in March.

The country had announced a generous QR75bn (or 10% of gross domestic product) package for the private sector. Additionally, it had also extended QR10bn support to the Qatar Stock Exchange listed companies.

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