Despite the sharp decline in oil prices, Qatar's general budget has achieved a surplus of more than QR 100 billion until the end of January 2015, said HE Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani.
In a speech at the MEED Qatar Projects conference 2015 held in Doha today, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani said Qatar also managed to achieve QR 160 billion surplus in the current account in the balance of payments during the first nine months of 2014, stressing that the Qatari economy maintained its achievements of strong growth in previous years, particularly in the non-oil sectors.
The Qatar Central Bank is closely monitoring emerging risks to the financial system, particularly those related to inflation, which was contained to a large extent, as inflation ratio did not exceed 3 percent in 2014, he added, pointing out that the QCB continued to pursue policies that ensure monetary conditions and the amount of liquidity in the Qatar's economy remain supportive for the growth while maintaining the stability of prices.
The global economic landscape has seen the emergence of new economic, financial and political challenges that left a negative impact on the global economy growth such as the fluctuations of financial markets and the decline in international oil prices as well as geopolitical tensions, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani said, adding that all of these posed unprecedented challenges in the State of Qatar, but Qatar managed by increasing its focus on supporting financial stability, economic diversification and coordination in fiscal and monetary policies in order to contribute to ensuring sustainable growth and achieving the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.
HE QCB Governor pointed to the launch of a regulatory and supervisory bodies' strategy for the financial markets and services sector in order to find a strong and effective financial regulatory framework to support economic prosperity and financial stability witnessed by the State of Qatar, adding that this strategy is based on six main pillars. These is significant progress in all of these pillars, he added.
To strengthen the regulatory cooperation, the Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee was established as a mechanism that will help in the development of appropriate policy frameworks for the regulation and supervision of all services and financial markets in the country, HE QCB Governor said, adding this committee holds regular meetings to monitor risks and coordinate between supervisory authorities and monetary policies by providing studies, regulatory proposals and appropriate amendments.
While highlighting the progress made over the past year, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani said that Qatar Exchange was upgraded in 2014 to emerging market status by the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), and the commercial banks' assets increased to exceed QR 1 trillion for the first time at the end of December 2014, adding that customer deposits with commercial banks increased during the same period by about 9.6 percent, taking the total deposits to more than QR 600 billion compared to nearly QR 550 billion at the end of 2013.
Qatar Central Bank enjoys excellent relations with all the international and regional financial organizations, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani said.
"We strive to enhance our relationship with other central banks to serve the common interest", he said, pointing to a memorandum of understanding and agreements signed recently with China and South Korea including a Swap Agreement with the People's Bank of China as well as an MoU to establish a center for renminbi ("RMB") clearing and settlement in Doha.
He continued to say that the signing of the MoU will enhance the strong ties between China and Qatar and position Qatar as the regional center for the RMB clearing and settlement, adding that the center will be opened next month.
HE Governor of Qatar Central Bank said that the a memorandum of understanding with the China Banking Regulatory Commission will facilitate the promotion of the representative offices of Qatari banks in China into full branches.
He added that the memorandum of understanding with the Bank of Korea aimed at supporting the economic and banking relations and at strengthening cooperation in the financial and banking sector as well as at the exchange of information, expertise and training between the two countries.