Qatar’s listed banks have enjoyed a progressive financial year 2019, reporting on average, a 5.5 percent profit increase year-on-year (YoY). This is mainly attributable to higher margins, continued cost control, and a clear focus on risk, according to KPMG analysis.

On the findings, Qatar-based Partner and Head of Financial Services for KPMG in the Middle East and South Asia, Omar Mahmood, said: “The stable increase in profits of banks in Qatar is a testament to their efforts to grow their balance sheets, with a clear focus on high quality assets, and lower risk yet profitable business”. Margins improved as interest/profit income was up by 6.5 percent compared to an increase of cost of funds of 5.9 percent, as the Qatar Central Bank reduced the headline deposit rates during the year by 50 bps. Furthermore, the cost to income ratio of all banks also continued to decline as the Bank’s saw a collective decrease in their staff and other administrative expenses. Qatar’s banking therefore continues to maintain one of the lowest cost-to-income ratios in the region.

The total assets of the listed Banks also continued to show grow steady growth. On this Mahmood added: “Despite the liquidity pressures, we have seen Bank’s in Qatar grow their asset base by 9.3 percent. The growth was driven by lending to customers and financial institutions in addition to the purchase of investment securities. The growth in assets also resulted in the slightly reduced return on assets for all but 3 listed Banks”.

The overall provisioning levels of the listed Banks for FY 2019 remained largely in line with FY 2018, on which Mahmood continued: “The Banks absorbed the impact of IFRS 9 in 2018, hence the overall provisions on lending to customers only increased by QR244m. The increase was mainly seen in expected credit losses for stage 2, or watchlist customers, with a reduction in non-performing loan provisions.”.

Mahmood added: “market sentiment has also reflected fundamentals with the share prices of all listed banks, except one, showing an upward trend which was a further positive signal from the market on the resilience and strength of the banking sector in Qatar.”

The latest PMI survey of Qatar pointed to a stronger 12-month outlook for business activity, which was held back somewhat by a collection of local factors and aggravated by observed seasonal trends.

The PMI eased to 47.2 in June, and averaged 48.1 over the second quarter. The quarterly PMI figure can be compared with changes in official gross domestic product (GDP). Since the survey began in April 2017 the PMI has a correlation of 0.88 with the year-on-year percentage change in GDP in real terms, over a comparison period of seven quarters up to the fourth quarter of 2018. The PMI is released ahead of GDP data, and accurately signaled the slower official growth rate of 0.3 percent year-on-year in Q4 2018. So far in 2019, the PMI is signaling a pick-up in GDP growth in the first quarter, to around 0.9 percent, followed by no change in the second quarter.

The easing of the PMI in June reflected softer contributions from four of its five components, most notably output and new business. The sole positive contribution came from suppliers’ delivery times (although this index fell in June, it is subsequently inverted for the PMI calculation).

More positively, the outlook for total business activity strengthened in June as the Future Output Index rose to 80.0. Around 63 percent of survey respondents expect higher workloads at their units over the next 12 months, with confidence strongest in the real estate & business services and construction sectors

June survey data signaled further downward pressure on private sector input costs. Prices paid for raw materials fell the most since the series began in April 2017. Overall input costs fell for the second month running and at a slightly faster rate than in May, also reflecting a stronger decline in staff costs. In contrast to input prices, the index for output charges moved higher in June, suggesting a relative improvement in firms’ margins. Charges continued to fall overall, but by the least since February 2018.

Sheikha Alanoud bint Hamad Al Thani (pictured), Managing Director, Business Development, QFC Authority commented: “The pace of Qatar’s non-energy private sector expansion has tempered at the midway point of 2019, however it is foreseen to pick up again after the traditionally slow summer season given strong future orders. This follows a rebound in growth in the first quarter according to the PMI, up from 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2018.

“Slower current growth in Qatar partly reflects global headwinds: the global PMI* has now eased for four successive quarters up to the first quarter of 2019, and a subdued trend has continued so far in the second quarter. “Looking ahead, the 12-month outlook for business activity strengthened significantly in June. Promisingly, there was also evidence of improving margins for non-energy private sector companies, with a fall in the input prices indicator contrasting with a rise in the output charges index.”

The Qatar Financial Centre PMI is compiled by IHS Markit. The PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 400 private sector companies.

Investors at the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) became nearly QR30bn richer during last week as the benchmark index gained 542.49 points, or 5.58 percent, over the week when the bourse closed yesterday at 10,273.01 points.

The market cap rose by 5.55 percent to reach QR568.07bn as compared to QR538.19bn at the end of previous week.

Trading value during last week increased by 177.64 percent to reach QR4.96bn compared to QR1.78bn.

Trading volume increased by 178.95 percent to reach 202.65 million shares, as against 72.65 million shares, while the number of transactions rose by 49.96 percent, to reach 68,041 transactions as compared to 45,373 transactions, reports QNA.

Industries sector led traded value last week with 30.96 percent of the total traded value. Banking and Financial Services sector accounted for 24.34 percent. Consumer Goods and Services sector accounted for 24.03 percent and Real Estate sector accounted 16.66 percent.

Real Estate sector led traded volume last week with 51.89 percent of the total traded volume. Industries sector accounted for 28.28 percent. Banking and Financial Services sector accounted 11.38 percent and Consumer Goods and Services sector accounted 4.03 percent.

Real Estate sector led traded number of transactions last week with 47.15 percent of the total number of transactions. Industries sector accounted for 21.78 percent. Banking and Financial Services sector accounted for 15.50 percent and Consumer Goods and Services sector accounted for 9.61 percent.

From the 46 listed companies 30 ended last week higher, while 13 fell and three unchanged. Qatar Fuel led trading value during last week accounted for 23.17 percent of the total traded value. Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company accounted for 22.82 percent and Ezdan Holding Group accounted 14.62 percent.

When compared on daily basis, the QSE index gained 341.07 points, or 3.43 percent, yesterday compared to Wednesday’s closing.

The volume of shares traded increased to 36. 63 million from 24.53 million on Wednesday and the value of shares increased to QR771.36m from QR399.20m on Wednesday.

From the 47 companies listed on QSE, shares of 44 saw trading today. From these, 35 companies gained, five closed lower, while four remaining companies were unchanged.

Indices of all sectors ended in green zone today. QSE Total Return Index increased 3.43 percent to 18,903.20 points and QSE Al Rayan Islamic Index also increased 2.69 percent to 3,993.09 points. QSE All Share Index increased 3.45 percent to 3,046.22 points

As many as 32,000 new companies have been established in Qatar during the on-going blockade, registering a 34 percent growth compared to the two years before the siege, Qatar Chamber (QC) Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani has said.

Sheikh Khalifa  also noted that the number of factories has increased by 17 percent reaching 823 in 2019 compared to 707 factories in 2016, with 116 new factories established. The number of permits for establishing factories reached 613 with total investments of QR34bn compared to 466 permits in 2016 with investments worth QR31bn, he added.

Also, the total number of factories, including existing and those under construction, has increased by 23 percent (263 factories up) to 1,436 factories in 2019 from 1173 in 2016.

New factories started production during the siege which contributed to achieving self-sufficiency in many sectors especially foodstuffs.

Sheikh Khalifa affirmed the role played by the chamber as an important part of the self-sufficiency strategy, noting that the private sector proved it is a real partner in Qatar’s economic process.

Sheikh Khalifa also said that Qatar’s non-oil exports grew by 35 percent from QR18.05bn in 2017 to QR24.4bn in 2018.

He said Qatar has managed to overcome the repercussions of the siege in a very short time due to the rapid steps adopted by the government and the strength of the private sector which proved high potentials in dealing with great challenges.

In a press statement issued by the Chamber on the occasion of the second anniversary of imposing the siege, Sheikh Khalifa said there are many factors which have helped the country defeat the siege and transform its repositions into benefits, including the economic and legislative environment, sound strategic plans as well as cooperation among all bodies and trade relations with friendly countries.

He said the siege has no significant impact on Qatar’s economy, while affirming that it had a light impact in the beginning which eventually disappeared due to synergy of efforts and resilience of the economy.

He also stressed that the siege was a strong impetus toward achieving many significant accomplishments including  accelerating the country’s  economic strategies, expanding agricultural and industrial projects, increasing outward investments, promoting local investment  and attracting more foreign investments to the local market.

This also includes providing more incentives to the private sector for promoting local industries, increasing production, enhancing relations with friendly countries and activating trade with world countries.

Stressing the Chamber’s role during siege, Sheikh Khalifa said it has sought since the very beginning of the siege to solve all obstacles facing the private sector.

He outlined the measures taken by the Chamber in coordination and cooperation with the competent authorities in the State to face the consequences of the siege, where the Chamber worked with importers of food to find new alternatives and overcome all the obstacles facing companies operating in this sector in order to ensure continuity of flow of those goods to the State.

During the siege, Qatar Chamber held meetings with more than 200 trade delegations to discuss mutual investment opportunities and the possibility of establishing economic partnerships and alliances in light of the incentives, facilities and benefits for investment proposed by Qatar and the governments of those countries.

Efforts to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation between Qatar and the United States (US) have yielded remarkable results. Both the trade exchange and trade balance (from the exchange of goods) between Qatar and the US witnessed sharp jump in the first quarter of this year (Q1 2019).

The US exports of goods to Qatar during the first three months of this year reached $1.196bn, while its imports from Qatar increased to $708.1m during the same period, latest online data released by the United States Census Bureau show.

The sharp rise in trade volume the US trade surplus (difference between the export and import of goods) with Qatar has resulted into a significant growth in the US trade balance with Qatar in Q1 2019. The US trade surplus soared to 488.1m (QR1.77bn) in first quarter of this year, registering a double-digit growth of over 46 percent compared to the trade surplus of $332.9m (QR1.21bn) same quarter last year.

According to reports, the US trade surplus with Qatar in 2018 surged to QR10.37bn ($2.85bn), up nearly 49 percent compared to QR6.99bn ($1.92bn) registered in the previous year.

However, the US trade surplus against Qatar, despite registering extraordinary growth in 2018 remained far low compared to QR13.32bn ($3.76bn) recorded in 2016, which was the all time high. In 2016 the Qatar-US bilateral trade peaked to QR22.14bn ($6.08bn).

The US Census Bureau data show that the combined value of bilateral trade (in goods) between Qatar and the US, for the year of 2018, reached QR21.81bn ($5.99bn), showing a significant growth of nearly 40 percent compared to QR15.70bn ($4.31bn) for the corresponding period in 2017. When compared to 2016, the bilateral trade in 2018 almost reached that level, despite the regional and global challenges.

The US exports to Qatar in 2018 increased by nearly 42 percent (year-on-year), while its imports from Qatar soared by about 32 percent. The US exports of goods to Qatar in 2018 increased to QR16.09bn ($4.42bn) against QR11.36bn ($3.12bn) in 2017, while the US imports from Qatar surged to QR5.71bn ($1.57bn) in 2018 from QR4.33bn ($1.19bn) recorded in the previous year.

The transportation equipment, including aircraft, accounts for a signification part of the US exports to Qatar. And the US exports to Qatar constitute a major part of the local economy; while the US continue to heavily export advanced technologies such as commercial aircraft, vehicles, heavy equipment, satellite and communications equipment. The US, the world’s largest economy, also provides key management and technical services in engineering, education, and environment technologies to Qatar.

Almost every major construction and infrastructure project in Qatar is currently being managed or supervised by an American engineering firm. Furthermore, six of the seven major universities in Education City are American universities.

The US is a leading investor in Qatar’s oil and gas sector helping produce more than two thirds of the country’s LNG output. The bilateral trade and economic cooperation is to reach new highs with a significant jump in trade volumes in the coming years as both sides are working very closely and aggressively to expand and deepen the relationship in new areas, including more cooperation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector.

Developments in US-China trade negotiations have suddenly changed for the worse as the US hiked tariffs on $200bn of imported Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. The action broke the Trump-Xi trade “truce” and added to other measures imposed by the US on China last year, including tariffs on solar panel and washing machines, steel and aluminium, and on $50bn of other goods.

China has retaliated by imposing tariffs on $60bn of imported US goods, adding to previous retaliatory measures. The situation may escalate further as the US is threatening to impose additional tariffs on all remaining imports from China (about $300bn).

Our analysis delves into the three main channels through which tariffs are expected to affect both the US and China, including net exports, real incomes and financial conditions.

First, a lift in bilateral tariffs affects net exports of both countries. This takes place through export losses and import reduction as tariffs hit export competitiveness and partially shift demand towards domestically produced goods. In this sense, from a direct trade exposure perspective, there is a considerable asymmetry between the US and China. While US exports to and imports from China account for 0.9 percent and 2.7 percent of GDP, Chinese exports to and imports from the US account for 3.5 percent and 1.1 percent of GDP, respectively.  Given this relative composition of bilateral trade, the US is less affected by export losses and benefits more from import substitution.

Second, tariffs directly and indirectly affect price levels, pushing inflation up while real incomes go down. The effects of tariffs on inflation are relatively small and mostly temporary, but much more significant in the US than in China, given the small share of Chinese imports from the US. According to recent research from the US National Bureau of Economic Research, the costs of tariff hikes have so far fallen mostly on US businesses and households.

In fact, a granular dive on US trade volumes and prices suggests that tariff-affected Chinese exports to the US did not decline in prices, i.e., the costs of tariffs have been shouldered by US corporates and consumers rather than Chinese exporters.

Moreover, the price effect of tariffs on Chinese products are spilling over to prices charged by non-Chinese exporters of tariffed goods, which implies that exporters from other countries are behaving opportunistically to widen their margins at the expense of US residents. Tariffs are currently boosting core inflation by around 20 basis points (bps) in the US. Importantly, the effect will be amplified should the US decide to apply further tariffs.

Consumer goods account for only about 15 percent of all imports subjected to tariffs so far but for about 60 percent of all the remaining imports from China. If the trade war escalates, the effects of tariffs on inflation will persist for a longer period and will likely be lifted by another 35 bps, eventually producing further losses in real incomes.

Third, additional tariffs and bad news coming from US-China trade negotiations often produce a deterioration in sentiment that may lead to a tightening in financial conditions, i.e., lower equity prices, higher credit spreads and less availability of credit.

Ever since signs of disruptions in negotiations started to come out in early May 2019, the US S&P 500 and Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite plummeted by 3.6 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

A bout of risk-off sentiment started with widening credit spreads and tighter financial conditions in general. Should this continue, effects on growth are likely to be significant, especially given the importance of the wealth channel in the US and credit in China.

All in all, a trade war of tariffs between the US and China negatively affect both economies through different channels. China is more affected by the direct trade channel while the US is more affected by the real income and financial condition channels. Recent events suggest that a broader trade deal is rather unlikely. However, the negative effects of an escalating economic conflict may compel both parties to reach a narrower or preliminary deal.

The G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on 28-29 June, may be an occasion to grasp further indications on the direction of bilateral discussions as Trump and Xi are expected to meet. Stakes are high and a positive outcome would likely be supportive for a global economy that is already facing a significant slowdown and several political headwinds.

LONDON:  It was a stark warning about the risks ahead for the global economy, even by the forthright standards of the boss of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“The world economy is in a dangerous place,” Angel Gurria said as the OECD announced its latest, lower forecasts for growth on May 21.

The source of his worry: the mounting trade tensions between the United States and China, which could hit the rest of the world much harder than they have to date.

“Let’s avoid complacency at all costs,” Gurria said. “Clearly the biggest threat is through the escalation of trade restriction measures, and this is happening as we speak. This clear and present danger could easily have knock-on effects.”

With much of the world economy still recovering from the after-effects of the global financial crisis a decade ago, U.S. President Donald Trump caused alarm when he raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from China on May 10, prompting Beijing to say it would hit back with its own higher duties.

Trade tensions are the main reason that growth in the global economy will weaken to 3.2 percent this year, the slowest pace in three years and down from rates of about 5 percent before the financial crisis a decade ago, the OECD said.

MORE tariffS?

The world economy is expected to pick up slowly next year, but only if Washington and China drop their latest tariff moves.

The impact could be a lot more severe if Trump follows through on his latest threat to hit a further $300 billion of Chinese imports with tariffs and China retaliates again.

That kind of tariff escalation, plus the associated rise in uncertainty about a broadening of the trade war, could lop about 0.7 percent off the world economy by 2021-2022, the OECD said.

That would be equivalent to about $600 billion, or the loss of the economy of Argentina.

But the knock-on effects might not stop there.

A full-blown trade war, combined with an ensuing debt crisis in China and a shift away from exports to drive its economy, could cause a 2 percent hit to China’s economy, in turn knocking global growth further, the OECD said.

To be sure, that kind of worst-case scenario may well be averted, given the stakes for the United States and China.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to meet at a Group of 20 leaders summit in Japan on June 28-29.

Other G20 nations will be urging them to step back from the fight, chief among them Germany and Japan, two export power-houses which have much to lose from a long trade war.

For now, the effect of the trade tensions is being felt mostly among manufacturers.

By contrast, consumers, buoyed by low unemployment and weak inflation in many of the world’s rich economies, have shown little sign of alarm at the row between Washington and Beijing.

But over the longer term, a protracted trade war is likely to drag down the consumer economy too.

Global trade should normally grow at double the pace of the world economy but is expected to lag it in 2019, boding ill for investment by companies, the OECD said.

That investment would normally drive productivity growth, which is key for long-term prosperity and is urgently needed. Living standards for many workers in rich countries remain lower than before the financial crisis of 2008-09.

The frustration with lower living standards is widely seen as one of the main factors behind the rise of populist politics, including Trump’s presidential election victory in 2016.

“To put it bluntly, this cannot be the new normal,” said Laurence Boone, the OECD’s chief economist. “We cannot accept an economy that doesn’t raise people’s living standards.”

The United Kingdom, a world leader in sectors such as tech, financial services, healthcare, and education, is committed to supporting Qatar in diversifying its economy, said George Hollingbery (pictured) , the UK’s Minister of State for Trade Policy, Department for International Trade (DIT).

In an interview with The Business Year Qatar 2019, Hollingbery reiterated that it is an exciting time ahead for both nations as the UK sets up its independent trade policy for the first time in more than 40 years, and as Qatar continues to drive forward its National Vision 2030.

He added: “The UK and Qatar have a long and rich history together, and our relationship continues to grow from strength to strength. Our bilateral partnership extends to many areas, notably in trade and investment, culture and education, prosperity and security. We see 3,900 Qatari students choosing British universities, and over 70,000 Qataris visit the UK each year, while Qatar is home to over 600 British companies”.

To date, Qatar is one of the largest investors in the UK. The Minister said the UK already sees more than £50bn of investments from Qatar. The figure is expected to continue to rise after a commitment by Qatar in 2017 to allocate £5bn additional investments over a five-year period, half of which has already been invested in the UK.  Further, trade between the UK and Qatar has also reached £5.3bn in 2018.

Hollingbery has already visited the World Cup 2022 Legacy Pavilion and said he was impressed by the significant progress that has been made in preparation for the tournament.

He added: “DIT has already helped British companies to secure £940m in British-Qatar World Cup-related exports and aims to secure at least a further £500m before the competition kicks off in 2022. As a country, we have a long track record of delivering the world’s biggest sporting events.

At Brazil’s 2014 World Cup, UK firm Blue Cube provided the seats on which fans cheered their teams, while at the Rio Games, British company PKL provided temporary kitchens to feed the athletes, staff, and fans. The 2022 Fifa World Cup is the first of many opportunities for the UK to support National Vision 2030, which includes £140bn of infrastructure development and offers significant collaboration opportunities for UK companies”.

Both countries have also signed a number of agreements recently. On the occasion of London’s hosting of Qatar Day in April, both parties signed a membership agreement between Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and the UK’s global FinTech community Innovate Finance.

Under the agreement, Innovate Finance renews its commitment to supporting the development of FinTech ecosystem in Qatar, as well as the approval of QDB’s membership of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).

Trump administration sanctions against Huawei have begun to bite even before their dimensions are fully understood. U.S. companies that supply the Chinese tech powerhouse with computer chips saw their stock prices slump Monday, and Huawei faces decimated smartphone sales with the anticipated loss of Google’s popular software and services.

The U.S. move escalates trade-war tensions with Beijing, but will it only make China more self-sufficient?

Here’s a look at what’s behind the dispute and what it means:

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?

Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department said it would place Huawei on the so-called Entity List, effectively barring U.S. firms from selling it technology without government approval.

Google said it would continue to support existing Huawei smartphones but future devices will not have its flagship apps and services, including maps, Gmail and search. Only basic services would be available, making Huawei phones less desirable. Separately, Huawei is the world’s leading provider of networking equipment, but it relies on U.S. components including computer chips. About a third of Huawei’s suppliers are American.

WHY PUNISH HUAWEI?

The U.S. defense and intelligence communities have long accused Huawei of being an untrustworthy agent of Beijing’s repressive rulers – though without providing evidence. The U.S. government’s sanctions are widely seen as a means of pressuring reluctant allies in Europe to exclude Huawei equipment from their next-generation wireless networks. Washington says it’s a question of national security and punishment of Huawei for skirting sanctions against Iran, but the backdrop is a struggle for economic and technological dominance.

The politics of President Donald Trump’s escalating tit-for-tat trade war have co-opted a longstanding policy goal of stemming state-backed Chinese cyber theft of trade and military secrets. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week that the sanctions on Huawei have nothing to do with the trade war and could be revoked if Huawei’s behavior were to change.

THE SANCTIONS’ BITE

Analysts predict consumers will abandon Huawei for other smartphone makers if Huawei can only use a stripped-down version of Android. Huawei, now the No. 2 smartphone supplier, could fall behind Apple to third place.

Google could seek exemptions, but would not comment on whether it planned to do so.

WHO USES HUAWEI ANYWAY?

While most consumers in the U.S. don’t even know how to pronounce Huawei (it’s “HWA-way), its brand is well known in most of the rest of the world, where people have been buying its smartphones in droves.

Huawei stealthily became an industry star by plowing into new markets, developing a lineup of phones that offer affordable options for low-income households and luxury models that are siphoning upper-crust sales from Apple and Samsung in China and Europe. About 13 percent of its phones are now sold in Europe, estimates Gartner analyst Annette Zimmermann.

That formula helped Huawei establish itself as the world’s second-largest seller of smartphones during the first three months of this year, according to the research firm IDC. Huawei shipped 59 million smartphones in the January-March period, nearly 23 million more than Apple.

RIPPLE EFFECTS

The U.S. ban could have unwelcome ripple effects in the U.S., given how much technology Huawei buys from U.S. companies, especially from the makers of the microprocessors that go into smartphones, computers, internet networking gear and other gadgetry.

The list of chip companies expected to be hit hardest includes Micron Technologies, Qualcomm, Qorvo and Skyworks Solutions, which all have listed Huawei as a major customer in their annual reports. Others likely to suffer are Xilinx, Broadcom and Texas Instruments, according to industry analysts.

Being cut off from Huawei will also compound the pain the chip sector is already experiencing from the Trump administration’s rising China tariffs.

Commerce could go easy on those suppliers and provide them with a grace period of 90 days or more and even be generous with exemptions for especially hard-hit companies. Or it could invoke what the global risk assessment firm Eurasia Group calls “the nuclear option.” Commerce Department officials did not return phone calls and emails seeking clarification.

Much could depend on whether countries including France, Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands continue to refuse to completely exclude Huawei equipment from their wireless networks.

COULD THIS BACKFIRE?

Huawei is already the biggest global supplier of networking equipment, and is now likely to move toward making all components domestically. China already has a policy seeking technological independence by 2025.

U.S. tech companies, facing a drop in sales, could respond with layoffs. More than 52,000 technology jobs in the U.S. are directly tied to China exports, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association, a trade group also known as CompTIA.

WHAT ABOUT HARM TO GOOGLE?

Google may lose some licensing fees and opportunities to show ads on Huawei phones, but it still will probably be a financial hiccup for Google and its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., which is expected to generate $160 billion in revenue this year.

THE APPLE EFFECT

In theory, Huawei’s losses could translate into gains for both Samsung and Apple at a time both of those companies are trying to reverse a sharp decline in smartphone sales.

But Apple also stands to be hurt if China decides to target it in retaliation. Apple is particularly vulnerable because most iPhones are assembled in China. The Chinese government, for example could block crucial shipments to the factories assembling iPhones or take other measures that disrupt the supply chain.

Any retaliatory move from China could come on top of a looming increase on tariffs by the U.S. that would hit the iPhone, forcing Apple to raise prices or reduce profits.

What’s more, the escalating trade war may trigger a backlash among Chinese consumers against U.S. products, including the iPhone.

“Beijing could stoke nationalist sentiment over the treatment of Huawei, which could result in protests against major U.S. technology brands,” the CompTIA warned.

Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) serves as a beacon of investments and an enabler of economic growth in Qatar, noted a top official of QFC.

With its unique characteristics, its seeks to enhance Qatar’s position as an attractive and rewarding destination for companies looking to expand their operations in the Middle East.

QFC’s role in not limited to contributing to the diversification of the Qatari economy through the hundreds of companies operating under it; it also contributes toward achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 and transforming the Qatari economy into a knowledge-based economy.

QFC is the home of approximately 670 companies that operate across different sectors including financial services, media, technology, sports, consultancies, and many others. These companies range from corporate banks, and holding companies, to professional service companies and special purpose companies. The total assets under the management of the businesses registered on the QFC platform have exceeded $20bn. Companies registered on QFCs platform come from around the world including Qatar, the US, the UK, India, France, Switzerland, China and many others.

QFC aims to inject even more investments and foreign capital into the Qatari economy, according to H E Sheikha Alanoud bint Hamad Al Thani, Managing Director of Business Development at QFC.

Sheikha Alanoud said, in exclusive statements to QNA: “We recently announced a new strategy which includes a renewed focus on specific service industries including digital, media, sports, and financial services.

Additionally, our new strategy also focuses on further developing partnerships as part of a New Emerging Belt Initiative (NEBI), an economic corridor that focuses on building strategic alliances with markets such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan and India.”

She added that these new emerging markets have been identified because they possess a large potential for future growth, especially considering that their combined GDP is estimated to be approximately $2.1 trillion, with total global FDI from these markets exceeding $150bn.

QFC has already taken significant steps to activate their new strategy. The Center signed numerous partnerships with key stakeholders in each of its new focus clusters.