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S&P reaffirms positive rating, outlook for Sharjah

Standard & Poor’s has recently reaffirmed Sharjah’s positive BBB + / A-2 sovereign credit ratings over the long and short terms, according to Sharjah Government Media Bureau. 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 percent 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.

The global 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 H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and 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 percent 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 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.

Top Sharjah officials and economic stakeholders have strongly welcomed the move by S&P. 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 H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, attracting global investments and strengthening Sharjah’s leading position in the region.

Hailing the move by S&P, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, chairman of Basma Group and chairman of Arada, asserted that the keenness of 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.

Sheikh Sultan pointed out that the 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. He cited the Emirate’s initiatives and legislations that help provide a safe environment for investors and achieve prosperity for all people in Sharjah, heralding a future of giving and achievement.

Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed that S&P's prediction of the 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," said Al Owais. "They are the outcome of the vision of H.H. 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."

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