Qatari Prime Minister on Growth, Libya and Emerging Markets
SHEIKH HAMAD: Part of it because our gas production has been 77 million ton reached last year. Second things, we have a lot of project related to oil and gas, which also becomes a lot. There is a lot of construction, there is a lot construction going in the country all in the same time.
I wish that we can expand it and stretch it for ten or 15 years and do it and to have normal growth, ten percent. Ten percent is not normal, but ten percent is good growth. And this is where the challenge. Okay, within three, four years, when we finish most of our work, we don't want the growth to collapse, we need a good growth to continue. And that's what we are working in it now, how to have the services, how to put the country on the map, to have a normal growth, but not 20, but not three or four.
MARIA BARTIROMO: In the meantime, while you are investing in the country, you are investing the sovereign wealth fund outside of the country. I understand there is an objective to invest $35 billion outside of Qatar, is this right?
SHEIKH HAMAD: Yes, we invest last year over $20 billion something. This year, I think there will be around $30 billion to $35 billion to be invested in outside, if we have the right opportunity.
MARIA BARTIROMO: So let me ask you about allocating that money. You have started a big project in Washington D.C. This is the Qatari Diar Real Estate $700 million development. Why that area, and is this a prelude to more investment in the United States in real estate? Talk to us about this big real estate deal you just did.
SHEIKH HAMAD: Washington, you know, it's a city where it is not affected a lot in the real estate especially in offices, in housing, because it's the capital of the United States. And there is a lot of agencies in Washington. So, there is demand in Washington.
I think for United States, we are looking for properties, commercial properties in the United States, because we think in some cities, not every all the cities, because we think it's the right moment to move to that. So we are doing with the moment and we are checking and discussing some deals in United States.
Real estate is always stable investment if you bite in the right time. Unfortunately, nobody knows when is the right time. But maybe now the right time to talk with the banks, which they have a lot of these commercial properties which they want to get rid of, if they want cash. Then sometimes we might find the right deal to do.
MARIA BARTIROMO: So you are looking for commercial real estate in the United States
SHEIKH HAMAD: Yes.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Are there specific measures that you're looking for in terms of choosing what properties to invest in?
SHEIKH HAMAD: Of course, quality, position, where it is, the good tenant. That's the main elements.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Very interesting. Where else are you investing? The last time we spoke, we talked about your investment in Credit Suisse, we talked about your investment in Barclays, which you had cut from the highs. Are you still warm to financial services in the United States?
SHEIKH HAMAD: I think we did in Brazilian bank, Banco Santander Brasil a few months ago, we bought five percent of it. And we bought, Agricultural Bank of China, about two-point percent. So, we are doing some financial when it is right, and we find the right opportunity. It doesn't mean that we are only doing financial, but we are also doing other transactions.
MARIA BARTIROMO: What's attractive about Santander and Brazil to you?
SHEIKH HAMAD: We are interested in the growth in Brazil. There is a good story in Brazil and Latin America. For us, we would like to expand there, and to own a bank in there, or own part of the bank. It could be our eyes for other opportunities. In term of it's good investment first of all, and at the same time, it's an investment where it could lead it to other investment, because the bank is like the you know, the filtration (SIC) of everybody business.
MARIA BARTIROMO: So that's what's attractive to you about financial services?
SHEIKH HAMAD: Exactly.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Because it's sort of the crux of growth in the economy…
SHEIKH HAMAD: Exactly, exactly.
MARIA BARTIROMO: The United States financial services, it doesn't sound like the opportunity is now?
SHEIKH HAMAD: We are doing some, we are doing some. We own some financial, not a big space, but we own in the banks of the United States some stakes.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Are there other areas in the U.S. that you find compelling right now away from real estate, away from financial services?
SHEIKH HAMAD: I think there is the retail also is important and good in the United States, and we are looking at it at the moment. Energy is also a place where we are looking at it in the United States.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Energy in terms of what? Let's talk about energy for a moment. In terms of energy, oil prices is at $108 a barrel. Gas prices, well natural gas, of course, very different than crude oil. But do you think based on where oil is today that the it makes sense, it's justified in terms of the supply demand dynamic?
SHEIKH HAMAD: I think the market is-- drive now by anxiety, part of it. And I believe that the energy price, we have to be realistic between the supply and the demand. The supply is there, I think. There is an anxiety because of what happened in the Middle East at the moment. This is why we see the prices over $120 per barrel.
But I always think $100 is the right price. I know always we said, you know, when it is $70, we said between $70 and $80 is a good price, and when it is $90, we say between $80 and $90 is a good price. That's part of the policy. But I believe the oil price and the gas price should be not too low and not too high. First of all, because it's the engine of the economy of the world.
But also if you need more supply in the future, you need to pay the right price so we can produce more, we can explore more, because there is a lot of investment in energy.
Ten years ago, there was almost no investment in oil and gas, because the prices doesn't let, if the prices of the oil is $17 and $15, and at least $7, you don't need to invest in oil. And this is the shortcoming because of that prices. So it's very important to have always prices which could let us invest, and let you have it in the right price.
MARIA BARTIROMO: In terms of gas, LNG you're seeing new demand coming from Japan on the heels of the disaster there. Talk to us about the amazing, insatiable demand in Asia, first off. And whether or not you've seen a change or an incredible as a result of what has gone on in Japan.
SHEIKH HAMAD: You know, in Asia, we sell our gas three or four time higher than what we sell it in United States. But that is important for us. But our natural market is Asia, frankly speaking. And yes the demand surge, and now with are trying to help our friends in Japan. We supply them with more gas, more LNG, because we think that they need that.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Russia has become increasingly a competitor on this, LNG. How do you see the playing field changing in terms of the supply?
SHEIKH HAMAD: We think the market can absorb all of us, Russia and Qatar. And for us, we have a very good understanding with Russia, and I think that the market need both of us. Very important not to make, we are not trying to compete each others, but we are trying to complement each others, in my opinion.