Qatar’s economy “stronger than before”, central bank governor says

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DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar’s economy has shown resilience in the face of a boycott imposed by some Arab countries, Qatar’s central bank governor said on Monday.

Qatar became locked in a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain in June last year.

“We have surmounted this crisis, we’ve become even stronger than before,” Qatar central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said at a financial conference in Doha.

He said Qatar’s real GDP grew by 2.5 percent in the first half of 2018.

Qatar’s international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, which had dropped by 20 percent in the first few months after the boycott, are now back to normal, and amounted to $46.5 billion at the end of September, he said.

Qatar‘s GDP growth is projected to rise to 2.4 pct in 2018 from 1.6 percent in 2017 on the back of higher energy prices, the International Monetary Fund said in November.

The fund forecast a further rise in GDP growth to 3.1 pct for 2019.

The governor said total reserves at commercial banks in Qatar had grown by 5 percent in the first nine months of 2018, a sign that preventive measures taken by Qatari banks have improved the resilience of the banking system, he said.

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