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S&P’s positive ratings for Sharjah to boost global investment

Top Sharjah officials and economic stakeholders have welcomed the move by global credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), reaffirming Sharjah’s BBB + / A-2 sovereign credit ratings in long- and short-term. Lauding the decision by the global watchdog, they emphasised that Sharjah’s economic outlook remains healthy and positive in short and long terms, thanks to the Emirate’s diverse economy and its robust economic fundamentals under His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, attracting global investments and strengthening Sharjah’s leading position in the region.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Basma Group and ARADA

The keenness of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, to always communicate with citizens and residents in the emirate and fulfil their needs has positively reflected on the development work, excellence in performance and growth in the emirate. It has also helped provide a secure life for people in the emirate.

Emirate’s credit ratings, arising from its robust financial position and low risk exposure, underscore the strength of Sharjah’s economic environment and importance of its development programmes in achieving stability. Emirate’s initiatives and legislations that help provide a safe environment for investors and achieve prosperity for all people in Sharjah, heralds a future of giving and achievement.

While the report predicts that Sharjah’s economic growth will accelerate during 2018 and register 2 per cent economic growth from 2018 to 2021, several major economic projects that are being implemented in the emirate with the cooperation of its public and private sector stakeholders.

Increasing demand of Sharjah’s investment market and its attraction of major investors from around the globe because of the emirate’s strong infrastructure, excellent investment incentives and legal environment, preserve the rights of investors and supports their objectives.

Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry

S&P’s prediction of accelerating growth of Sharjah’s GDP in 2018 reflects the upward trend of the Emirate’s economy in light of the wise leadership’s vision to achieve comprehensive growth and build a modern and sustainable economy founded upon knowledge, creativity and innovation.

S&P’s ratings did not come out of thin air. They are the outcome of the vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. He has for decades looked ahead and charted the roadmap for a prosperous future, in perfect harmony with the UAE’s economic system that seeks to build the world’s best economy and happiest society through serious preparations to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution and become a key player in the comity of nations.

Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Head of Sharjah Economic Development Department

These ratings reinforce the emirate’s position in attracting future economic opportunities and acknowledge the prudent and professional management of the public sector. Al Suwaidi expressed confidence that these 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. He credited the unique vision of the Ruler of Sharjah for the emirate’s positive economic outlook.

This achievement would have a positive impact for years to come in terms of volume of business and projects and enhance Sharjah’s status as a safe and attractive investment destination for major international financial institutions.

The emirate of Sharjah, with its unique ability to combine strong economic growth with the contribution of private sector and the enduring commitment to protecting its rich cultural heritage, is working hard to cooperate with all sectors to provide the best investment environment for its investors.

Ali Bin Hussein Khalifa Al Mazru’o, Director-General of Sharjah Financial Control Department

Sharjah’s economic structure projects a high level of diversity, with no sector alone contributing more than 20 per cent of GDP. The oil and gas sector is only a secondary contributor to the Emirate’s economy, which reduces its exposure to risks.

Besides, Sharjah is a regional manufacturing hub with numerous industrial and free zones, which bolsters its position as an attractive investment destination, together with the Emirate’s tourism offering and efforts to promote its diverse cultural projects. The emirate also enjoys low risk levels in the banking sector. It boasts Sharjah Islamic Bank and Bank of Sharjah, supervised by the Central Bank. All these achievement stem from the vision and leadership of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, as well as his continuous support to all sectors and various segments of society.

Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah Finance Department

S&P’s move assigning Sharjah positive credit ratings and a stable outlook is a reflection of Sharjah’s stable economy. 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. All these factors make the Emirate an attractive destination for investors and business. They also boost confidence in the emirate’s economy and its ability to achieve sustainable growth besides offering a key incentive for public and private institutions to move forward on the path of growth.

Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah)

The ratings of S&P, one of the world’s top credit ratings agencies, confirm that the emirate is moving forward steadily. 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.

Sharjah’s economy projects a diversity that is rarely seen in the region, with all sectors contributing in varying proportions, the least of which perhaps is the oil sector, which now contributes only 3 per cent of the Emirate’s GDP. Other productive sectors include the industrial sector, which contributes 17 per cent, and the real estate and retail sector, which contributes 10 per cent. With an expected growth rate of 2 per cent by 2021, this means more investment opportunities in various sectors in the Emirate.”

Robust Outlook

In its latest report, the internationally acclaimed credit ratings agency, S&P, has reaffirmed the positive outlook of the Emirate’s economy, granting it ‘stable’ sovereign credit rating of BBB + / A-2 in terms of local and foreign currencies respectively.

The Emirate’s positive ratings are driven by its strong financial position and low-risk exposure, the agency said. In a statement, S&P said that it expected the Emirate’s economy to grow 2 per cent between 2018 and 2021, and expected GDP growth to accelerate in 2018 based on the growth of business in the real estate and construction sectors and the positive impact on the Emirate due to Dubai’s preparations for hosting the high-profile exhibition, Expo 2020.

Economic Diversity

The credit ratings agency lauded the economic structure of the Emirate for its high level of diversity, compared to many economies of the region. The industrial sector contributes as much as 17 per cent to the Emirate’s GDP, followed by real estate, retail, wholesale and financial services, each accounting for about 10 per cent of the Emirate’s GDP. It also lauded the leadership of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, for playing an active role in achieving these goals. The ease of citizens’ communication with the leadership enhances stability, it emphasised.

The agency said it expects the Emirate’s economic growth to touch 2 per cent annually, from 2018 to 2021, reflecting the growth of public investment and recovery of demand in the region as a whole and the growth of international trade. It also expects Sharjah to benefit from Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020.

It expects Sharjah’s financial situation to improve significantly over the next two years, supported by measures to raise higher revenues for government-owned companies and institutions. It also expects the government’s consolidated financial revenues to increase by one percentage point to touch 10 per cent of GDP this year.

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