Qatar’s economically active population reaches 1.5mn…

With the economically active population, including youth, reaching more than 1.5mn, time has come for Qatar to further strengthen its long-term savings and investments strategy by broad-basing product portfolio.

The call for more long-term savings and investments instruments comes in the wake of the country already embarking on such a path since growth is expected to slowdown and largely coming from non-hydrocarbon segments.

The 25-34 age group registered the highest participation rate (93%) in the country’s labour force, whereas the 15-24 group’s participation reached 73%; Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDP&S) found.

“The financial sector reforms currently underway should have more holistic provisions to encourage long-term savings, considering that youths are increasingly getting into labour market,” a top official at a multinational bank said.

Qatar’s gross national savings, a measure that accounts for both private and public savings, is 59% of its gross domestic product in 2013 and is expected to soften to 57% this year, according to the latest International Monetary Fund age group.

Of the total economically active population, 87% constituted males and that the economically active population grew more than 4% against the third quarter of 2013, according to MDP&S.

Hailing the recent moves by the government to encourage long-term savings and investments through the initial public offering of Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company, the banker said it is high time Qatar came out with more investment avenues, especially at the retail level.

“There is certainly bigger scope for long-term investment vehicles such as pension funds and life insurance as well as infrastructure bonds, considering Qatar’s huge investments in infrastructure,” a key investment official at a domestic bank said.

The long-duration funds have an additional spin-off as it can also largely enhance the liquidity in the local stock market, he said, adding, it also offers returns that are matching the risk profile.

The need for long-term funds domestically has become all the more important, especially considering that the cost of overseas borrowing is on the higher side in view of the recent quantitative easing policies of US Federal Reserve, a top official at a domestic bank said.

The total economic participation of the Qatari labour force stood at 53% with the participation of Qatari males and females reaching 71% and 35% respectively, MDP&S figures revealed.

The monthly average salary for the total working male population rose to QR10,000, whereas it was QR8,000 for females. The gender equality index recorded 0.9 during the fourth quarter of 2013. Source: Gulf Times

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