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Siege Will Not Stop Qatar’s Growth Plans

Qatar has proved that the siege smacked on it by Saudi-led allies has failed to impact the economic and financial fundamentals of the country.

Qatar’s liquefied natural gas and oil exports were barely hit by the blockade. Nearly five weeks after the siege on Qatar, the country’s newly established oil firm North Coil Company (NOC) successfully loaded the first tanker of crude oil from Al-Shaheen oil field.

Qatar’s exports of LNG to key Asian destinations including Japan, India, South Korea and China were also not affected by the siege.

Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and produces up to 77 million tonnes of gas each year.

The monthly figures of the value of exports of domestic goods, released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) suggested Qatar’s exports of LNG, the key to its financial health, were not hurt in June. June exports of petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons climbed 15.8 percent, from a year earlier, to QR11.88bn.

In June, Qatar’s trade balance showed a surplus of QR12.5bn, an increase of about QR4.9bn or 63.6 percent year-on-year, and increased by nearly QR1.7bn or 15.3 percent compared to the pre-blockade month of May 2017.

Qatar is currently developing alternate shipping routes, and experts believe that the country can function fairly well even if the sanctions continue, and still expect it to be one of the Gulf’s best-performing economies this year.

In spite of the siege, experts plan a brighter outlook for Qatari economy. National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) in its economic update on Qatar, noted last week that the country’s growth is expected to pick up this year. The growth is expected to accelerate to 3.1 percent in 2018.

The blockade has failed to influence the financial market sentiments of Qatar as well.

The Qatar stock market staged a remarkable turnaround in July to emerge as the second best performing market in the GCC.

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