Middle East and Central Asia > Qatar

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Abdullah Al-Hassan, Imen Benmohamed, Aidyn Bibolov, Giovanni Ugazio, and Ms. Tian Zhang
The Gulf Cooperation Council region faced a significant economic toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks in 2020. Policymakers responded to the pandemic with decisive and broad measures to support households and businesses and mitigate the long-term impact on the economy. Financial vulnerabilities have been generally contained, reflecting ongoing policy support and the rebound in economic activity and oil prices, as well as banks entering the COVID-19 crisis with strong capital, liquidity, and profitability. The banking systems remained well-capitalized, but profitability and asset quality were adversely affected. Ongoing COVID-19 policy support could also obscure deterioration in asset quality. Policymakers need to continue to strike a balance between supporting recovery and mitigating risks to financial stability, including ensuring that banks’ buffers are adequate to withstand prolonged pandemic and withdrawal of COVID-related policy support measures. Addressing data gaps would help policymakers to further assess vulnerabilities and mitigate sectoral risks.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on policies to drive diversification for Qatar. Diversification is important for a large commodity exporter like Qatar: it helps manage temporary shocks and prepare for sweeping changes to the economic setting. Qatar’s large financial holdings can help diversify revenues. Both structural reforms to improve the business environment and sector-specific policies can support diversification of activity and exports. Sector-specific policies should build on existing economic strengths in areas with room for exports and innovation. Emphasis should be placed on developing expertise in specific clusters. Export markets and competition provide crucial mechanisms to ensure discipline. Further diversification is important to help Qatar manage temporary shocks and prepare for far-reaching shifts to the economic context. Well-targeted, structured, and sequenced policies to encourage specific sectors can also play a role in diversifying Qatar’s economy. Export markets and competition should be deliberately used to hold recipients of support accountable. Policies to encourage specific sectors have resulted in little more than inefficient import substitution in many countries. Avoiding this outcome requires discipline: support should be withdrawn in the absence of progress.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses measures to strengthen fiscal policy and budget frameworks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It provides an overview of government’s revenue and expenditure developments, and presents fiscal sustainability analysis that is most relevant to countries with large hydrocarbon wealth such as the UAE. The paper discusses measures to contain expenditure growth—controlling the public wage bill, reducing subsidies and transfers, and stabilizing other expense in real terms. It also proposes options to increase nonhydrocarbon revenue such as broadening corporate income tax with lower rates, introducing a low rate-broad based value added tax, and levying an excise tax on automobiles.
Mr. Andre O Santos
The objective of the paper is to assess ownership and control links in the GCC corporate sector. The analysis focuses on the integrated ownership and network arising from ownership data available in Bloomberg and GCC stock exchanges. The paper finds that ownership is concentrated in GCC public sector institutions, holding companies, financial institutions, and family groups. The paper then considers the effect of different definitions of control on the distribution of consolidated debt. Debt concentration is maximized when the wedge between ownership and control is the largest. This is the case when the largest shareholder has at least 5 percent of total shares as defined in Zingales (1994).
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses strengthening of fiscal policy and fiscal frameworks in Qatar. It proposes ways to ensure that sustainable fiscal policy is maintained in the medium to long term in Qatar. Fiscal policy remains sustainable, but given the large drop in oil prices, revenue-raising and expenditure-containing measures need to be considered to ensure intergenerational equity. Measures aimed at containing current spending, prioritizing capital expenditure, and raising nonhydrocarbon revenues would help bring fiscal policy back to consistency with intergenerational equity. Strengthening fiscal frameworks would help achieve the desirable fiscal policies.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on the United Arab Emirates highlights the macroprudential policies. The fixed exchange rate and persistent structural liquidity surpluses in upswings add to the difficulties in managing aggregate demand contain credit expansion. The exchange rate peg and the open capital account allow limited room to deviate from the U.S. interest rates. Monetary policy is further constrained by limited liquidity management capabilities, as liquidity forecasting is in its infancy, and central banks liquidity management relies primarily on reserve requirements and standing facilities for liquidity absorption. The lack of a local currency fixed-income market raises the prominence of real estate as an asset class for investment and the exposure of the banking system to the real estate sector.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Qatar has recently taken steps toward introducing a medium-term budget framework (MTBF) to enhance the predictability of spending decisions in the country. However, implementing medium-term fiscal planning requires formal procedural fiscal rules and parallel efforts to enhance the credibility of the annual budget. Given Qatar’s significant exposure to hydrocarbon price movements and its long-lasting hydrocarbon reserves, such fiscal rules would need a certain degree of flexibility and, at the same time, should be set to maintain consistency with long-term fiscal sustainability.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper focuses on fiscal policy and financial linkages across banks in Qatar. The paper presents main stylized facts on the evolution of revenues and expenditures and the relationship with oil prices. It analyzes the evolution of the fiscal policy stance in the run-up to and after the global financial crisis. The paper also assesses the current fiscal stance in the context of the authorities’ own objective of fully financing the budget from 2020 onward from its nonhydrocarbon revenues.
Mr. Zubair Iqbal and Mr. Ugo Fasano-Filho


This paper presents an overview of the unprecedented economic and social transformation witnessed by the member countries of the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates-over the last three decades.