Qatar's QNB declares IMF forecasts 'over-optimistic'

Bank predicts figure to be revised, as it announces plans to enter Saudi Arabia, India

Qatar National Bank (QNB) has dismissed recent economic growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as “over-optimistic” and says the figure is likely to be revised downwards in future.

In a statement, the bank said it disagreed with the IMF’s latest forecasts of 3.4 percent global growth for 2017.

It said: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept its forecasts for global growth in 2017 unchanged at 3.4 percent in the latest update of its World Economic Outlook.

“The overall number masked some tinkering with the composition of global growth since the IMF’s last round of forecasts made in October 2016.

“The projection for growth in advanced economies was revised up by 0.1 percentage points (pps) to 1.9 percent while growth for emerging markets (EMs) was revised down by 0.1 pps to 4.5 percent.

“However, we view the forecasts as over-optimistic and expect them to be revised down in the future, particularly given the IMF’s track record in recent years of consistent downward revisions to global growth projections.”

Meanwhile, on Monday, QNB chairman and Qatari minister of finance Ali Shareef Al Emadi reiterated plans announced by the bank in its 2016 year-end financial results to enter Saudi Arabia this year.

He said that entering the region’s largest market is an important step needed to expand the group’s activities and foreign investments, and reduce banking risk and volatility.

Qatar’s largest public sector bank is also planning to open branches in India this year as part of a strategy to earn 50 percent of net profit through international operations.

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