BY SACHIN KUMAR
Doha: Banks in Qatar registered a 12 percent growth in domestic loans in 2013 with domestic credit growing to QR533bn at the end of 2013 from QR477bn in 2012, according to Qatar Central Bank data.
Growth in lending of banks was mainly driven by infrastructure projects related to FIFA World Cup which will be hosted in Qatar in 2022. To prepare for the world cup, the government is investing heavily in basic infrastructure such as roads, expressways, metro and rail. The loan growth is expected to remain firm in the coming years due to ongoing infrastructure projects.
“With the acceleration of investment projects ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, these trends (growth in loans) are likely to continue going forward,” said Qatar National Bank in a recently released report. A large infrastructure spending programme of the government will have multiplier effect in the economy as it will generate demand for cement, steel and other materials, as well as for services.
Last year, October emerged as the best month for banking sector in terms of loan growth as banks witnessed highest increase of about four percent during the month. Loans of the banks grew to QR527.5bn at the end of October 2013 from QR509.4bn at the end of September 2013.
In terms of quarterly performance, loan growth was highest in the last quarter (October-December) as domestic credit grew by 4.7 percent to QR533bn at the end December from QR509bn at the end of the third quarter.
According to industry experts, one of the main reasons for increased loan growth is that the business activities are usually on higher side during the last quarter of year.
Deposits of the banks also grew at healthy rate in 2013. Total deposit of the banks witnessed a growth of 23 percent during last year to QR514.8bn at the end of 2013 from QR417bn at the end of 2012.
In terms of quarterly performance, deposit growth was highest in the second quarter (April-June) as domestic credit grew by 11 percent to QR494bn at the end December from QR445bn at the end of the third quarter (July-September).
In the total deposits, private sector deposits grew by 20 percent to QR284.6bn at the end of 2013 from QR236.6bn at the end of 2012. Experts believe that deposit growth of banks in Qatar is likely to witness healthy growth in coming years.