Global investors are upbeat on Qatar’s economy: Al-Shaibei


Dr. al-Shaibei in an interview with Gulf Times in Doha yesterday.

“Wherever we had gone (as part of the roadshow) investors expressed optimism about Qatar and its economic prospects. They were impressed by our strides in sports, education, tourism among other sectors,” al-Shaibei said in an interview with Gulf Times yesterday. As part of the $500mn sukuk issuance, a QIIB team led by al-Shaibei had recently visited Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and London on a roadshow. “The roadshow was successful as is evident from the huge response we received for our sukuk offering, the second such one for QIIB,” the CEO noted. The offering was oversubscribed nearly seven times with investors bidding for more than seven times the amount offered.

The offering was oversubscribed by investors, mostly from outside the Middle East, with a total of $3.3bn. Al-Shaibei termed the sukuk pricing as “very competitive” and said it “exceeded our expectations.” “Our track record as a bank has clearly impressed global investors. In fact, this is our second sukuk issuance. Our first sukuk got matured in 2017. “I hope our sukuk will set a new benchmark for Qatari banks. We got a good pricing on our sukuk…very competitive at that. A lot of investors bought our debt for the purpose of holding it… and not for speculation,” al-Shaibei said. He said Qatar’s “high sovereign rating” helped QIIB to “present our case well” to international investors. They were also convinced about Qatar’s medium to long term economic prospects.

Asked about the economic growth drivers for Qatar over the next five years, al-Shaibei said, “We are part of the global economy, which we expect will grow… and not stay at the current levels. And wherever growth is, there will be a greater demand for energy. Qatar is the major source, producer and supplier of clean energy, which is natural gas. Hence the expected global growth will be fuelled significantly by Qatari energy.” The prominent Qatari banker expects various other key sectors of the national economy including education, sports, tourism and services to grow over the next few years. “Qatar’s phenomenal success in limiting the impact of the unjustified blockade and converting challenges into opportunities has resonated well with the international community. We have been able to convey this message quite well,” the QIIB chief said.

Al-Shaibei said, “We did not issue the sukuk just for the sake of issuance. We are a very liquid bank. More than money, we want to be tested by the market. The rating agencies like you when you are in the market. Those who raise debts and manage those well are highly preferred by investors.”About QIIB’s decision to list sukuk on the London Stock Exchange he said, “We are confident about London. The city will remain a prominent international financial centre regardless of the Brexit outcome. A lot of institutions and brokers involved in Islamic transactions are based there.“Britain is the first country outside the Islamic world to issue a sovereign sukuk in 2014. By issuing a sovereign sukuk, the British government has demonstrated that it is possible to create a successful British base for Islamic finance.” The UK has a well-established, firm but fair and transparent legal system in place; al-Shaibei said and noted that “our decision on LSE listing was a strategic one, borne out of our confidence in the City of London as a global financial centre.”

Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times