Ratings agency S&P says Sharjah's economy set to grow 2% annually between 2018 and 2021.
Top Sharjah officials and economic stakeholders have welcomed the move by global credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), to reaffirm the emirate's BBB +/A-2 sovereign credit ratings.
Lauding the decision by the global watchdog, officials said that Sharjah’s economic outlook remains healthy and positive in short and long term.
S&P said Sharjah's positive ratings are driven by its strong financial position and low-risk exposure. In a statement, the ratings agency said that it expected Sharjah's economy to grow 2 percent annually between 2018 and 2021.
It hailed the economic structure of the emirate for its high level of diversity, compared to many economies of the region, with the industrial sector contributing as much as 17 percent to GDP, followed by real estate, retail, wholesale and financial services, each accounting for about 10 percent.
S&P also said it expects Sharjah to benefit from Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020, adding that Sharjah's financial situation is likely to improve significantly over the next two years.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, chairman of Basma Group and chairman of developer ARADA, said the rating decision confirmed the increasing demand of Sharjah’s investment market and its attraction of major investors from around the globe.
Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed that S&P's prediction of the accelerating growth of Sharjah's GDP in 2018 reflects the upward trend of the emirate's economy.
"S&P's ratings did not come out of thin air," he said. "They are the outcome of the vision of the Ruler of Sharjah. He has for decades looked ahead and charted the roadmap for a prosperous future.”
Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, head of Sharjah Economic Development Department, expressed confidence that the positive credit ratings given to Sharjah would help in attracting local, regional and international investments and further boost the trust the emirate enjoys in the world of business and finance.
Waleed Al Sayegh, director general of Sharjah Finance Department, added: “It acknowledges the government’s continuous efforts to improve the investment environment and implement development projects that support its ability to meet economic challenges and achieve long-term development goals, not to mention the strong financial position of Sharjah.
Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah) said: "The emirate has been pursuing a prudent economic approach based on a strong financial position where risk levels are minimal, which enhances investor confidence in our local economy and increases its attractiveness to foreign capital."