Secretary-General of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) Wissam Fattouh said the banking sector in Qatar was 'solid and strong', saying that it enjoys high flexibility as a result of the prudent monetary policy, which made it on the top of the Arab banking systems.
The Secretary-General of UAB said in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the blockade imposed on Qatar did not affect the banking system, pointing out in this context that Qatar National Bank ranks on the top ranking of the largest Arab banks.
Fattouh pointed out that the results of the economic blockade were limited as a result of its implemented strategy of not relying on the basic economy which is the 'gas economy'.
He pointed out that the diversification of Qatar's internal and external investments, gave its economy greater flexibility which enabled the sector to respond to economic crises.
He said the Qatar Central Bank has a very high reserve level of foreign currency, which is the main pillar of the Qatari riyal.
An analytical study issued a week ago by the General Secretariat of the UAB, based in the Lebanese capital Beirut, concluded that the Qatari banking sector ranks third among Arab banking sectors in terms of asset size, accounting for about 11 percent of the total assets of the Arab banking sector, and 10 percent of its deposits.
The study stressed also that the total assets of the Qatari banking sector stood at around $382.5 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2018, representing a 2.1 percent growth rate at the end of 2017, and public infrastructure investments in preparation for the 2022 World Cup and the economic diversification programme have provided an enabling environment for sustained growth in the banking sector.
The study added that the banking sector's assets to GDP ratio stood at 225 percent in 2017 compared to 186 percent in 2015, and this indicates that the banking sector has contributed significantly to the Qatari economy, while public and private sector deposits reached about $224.8 billion, and the deposits in Qatari banks are expected to grow further next year, supported by higher oil and gas revenues.
These figures and good growth ratios indicate the robustness and the flexibility of the Qatari banking sector to the challenges and pressures surrounding it, reflecting confidence in the Qatari banking sector, as well as the actions of the monetary authorities to provide foreign exchange to individuals and companies and to protect the local currency, the study said.
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