No region has been unscathed by the financial fallout. Even the Middle East – the so-called epicenter of global energy – has felt the impact over the past year.
Maria Bartiromo sat down with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani to discuss recovery in the Middle East. The nation holds 14% of the world’s natural gas, its ranked number three in the world. Oil and gas has made Qatar the second highest per-capital income country following Liechtenstein.
Maria asked Sheikh Hamad his views on the current economic environment.
Sheikh Hamad said “No doubt the economy in our region has been affected same as everywhere in the world. If I am talking particularly about Qatar, it was less affected. Our policy at that time is to support the banks. And the right way, to keep the momentum of the lending. But if I characterize what's going on now in the world, the environment is more relaxing. But this doesn't mean we are out of the woods completely.”
Sheikh Hamad also oversees the country’s sovereign fund as CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority.
Maria asked Sheikh Hamad if there is a willingness from the heads of sovereign wealth funds to invest in the United States right now.
Sheikh Hamad said, “We are looking for opportunity. And we are talking with a lot of people. We are investing at the moment, actually. And we are looking for more.”
Qatar’s sovereign fund is also trimming investments; cutting its stake in Barclays by less than a half percent.
Bartiromo asked Sheikh Hamad about this move.
He said, “We believe in it. We will stay in it. And the stock you know, went to the price which we think is the right price.” Bartiromo asked if the fund was still shopping for banks in the U.S. and Europe. Sheikh Hamad says they are.
Over the past year, oil nose-dived down to $32 a barrel or so. Natural gas also saw wild price moves. Bartiromo asked Sheikh Hamad what he is seeing in terms of the demand picture for energy right now. He said, “Demand is there. What we don't want is speculation in the market. That's the big problem, which raised the price to $150. I think if we go back to $150 we'll crash the market. If we go $35 we'll crash the oil industry. And then we'll have a bigger problem in near future in term of prices. So it's very important how we can make-- kind of stability.”
Stability seems to be the key word among world leaders at CGI, G20 and at the UN. Working together will make that happen.
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