x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Qatar targets AAA credit rating

Qatar seeks to raise its credit rating by two levels to AAA, putting the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas on par with countries including Canada and Norway.

Qatar seeks to raise its credit rating by two levels to AAA, putting the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas on par with countries including Canada and Norway.

"We are working on AAA instead of AA," Qatari finance minister Yousef Kamal said. "Our strength deserves AAA." Qatar's non-oil economic output will expand 9 per cent this year, Kamal said, in line with International Monetary Fund estimates.

Bonds from Qatar and Abu Dhabi, which has the same rating, emerged as a refuge for investors amid Europe's sovereign debt crisis. The cost of insuring Qatar's dollar debt for five years, a measure of credit risk, dropped 45 basis points last year to 82, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The contracts declined another 20 basis points this year to 63.

Qatar will record a budget surplus of 8.5 per cent of gross domestic product this year, the third biggest among the six- nation Gulf Cooperation Council after Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, according to IMF data. The government plans next year's budget based oil priced at $65 a barrel, Mr Kamal said.

 

* Bloomberg News