By SACHIN KUMAR
Doha: Automobile loans taken by Qataris grew 32 percent to QR3.6m in December 2013 from QR2.7m in January 2013, which was double the growth seen in automobile loans taken by expatriates. Vehicle loans taken by expatriates rose 16.5 percent to QR1.9m in December from QR1.7m in January, according to Qatar Central Bank data.
The trend of citizens taking more vehicle loans continues in the current year. Automobile loans to Qataris in January 2014 went up to QR3.8m, while for expatriates the figure stood at QR2m. However, there was a slight slowdown in February with auto loans to Qataris remaining at QR3.8m while loans to expatriates stood at QR1.9m.
Every month more than 8,000 vehicles hit the roads in Qatar, of which more than 5,000 are private vehicles.
According to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 8,123 vehicles were registered with the Traffic Department in February, of which 5,250 were private vehicles, 1,980 vehicles were for private transportation, and 188 were private motorcycles. In January, 8,121 vehicles were registered with the Traffic Department, of which 5,318 were private vehicles, 1,811 were vehicles for private transportation, and 185 were private motorcycles.
Banks charge three to four percent per annum for car loans, which encourages customers to buy vehicles on loan.
In personal loans, non-Qataris have outpaced Qataris in growth. According to QCB data, personal loans taken by expatriates grew 36 percent to QR14.36m in December 2013 from QR10.6m in January 2013, whereas loans taken by Qataris rose nine percent to QR26.82m in December from QR24.5m in January.