Qatar Investment Fund Says Invest in Banks as Proxy for Growth

Investors should buy shares in local banks to tap into Qatar’s economic growth as it prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2022, Nicholas Wilson, chairman of London-listed Qatar Investment Fund Plc, said in an interview.

“Banks are the best proxy for the economy as the infrastructure spend unfolds,” Wilson said in Doha. “Qatar’s population growth is averaging about 10 percent per year and that’s likely to continue for two to three years.”

Qatari lenders plan to borrow more than $6 billion in 2015 to finance the country’s $182 billion spending plan on roads, stadiums and other facilities by 2019. Loans will probably rise to $239 billion in 2018, from $180 billion in 2014, to cater to growth in the population, according to a Qatar National Bank SAQ report in February. The country’s economy will likely grow 7 percent in 2015, its finance minister said in February.

Qatar Investment Fund is more than half invested in bank stocks, compared to a 40.5 percent weighting for the Qatar Exchange index, according to its first quarter statement. Investments in industrial companies was lowered to 9.1 percentage points below the index weighting as prospects for energy-related businesses dimmed on plummeting oil prices, according to the fund.

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