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Posted On: 22 January 2009 08:33 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Global meltdown ‘has brought down’ prices

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QATAR has not been badly affected by the global financial crisis, whereas the cost of living has returned to normal after the fall in prices in the housing and commodities market, a leading Qatari businesswoman has said. Speaking at a video conference of businesswomen and experts from Qatar, Canada and the UK on the effects of global financial crisis on small businesses at the College of North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q), Iman al-Basti, QBWF board member and the owner of Legend group, said that the cost of importing commodities from the UK has come down, making retail business easier. Al-Basti noted that the financial crisis has made it easier for those who have money in Qatar to buy properties. “A land that was earlier quoted at QR1.6mn is now available for QR450,000,” she said. Qatar Business Women Forum (QBWF) board member Natra Saeed Abdullah said that most businesses facing a slow market in Qatar were those linked to the financial market, as the banks have tightened the norms for lending money. She said that the new projects have been affected, as the people who had taken bank loans could not finish them. However, there was no panicking yet in Qatar, she added. According to Natra, the financial crisis would have a late effect on Qatar, but not as bad as the US or the UK, thanks to “this country being gas rich”. She noted that the financial crisis has made it easier for her to recruit British teachers. “It has become easier to convince them to come to this part of the world, and their accommodation is considerably cheaper than the last year,” she added. Maysoun Habra, head of Middle East SG Hambros Bank - London, described the financial system as a patient in intensive care, who was trying to find out the cause of the spreading disease, with the help of different doctors. “We cannot see the end of it, but we are trying to find the way out”, she said. She said that private banks in the UK were not as affected as the investment banks, but a lot of investors were trying to take advantage of what is going on to find good opportunities. Habra suggested that the best way for small business to get through the financial crisis was to study their own market, talk to banks and advisers, look up the Internet and find how similar businesses are coping. Canadian spa owner Kimberly Crook said that the financial crisis had not affected her small business, as she watched what was spent, and keen on good planning. Linda Nixon, owner of an executive suites business, said that she had reduced the exposure to debt and was not going for renovations. Graine Sherwood, owner of Sherwood Solutions, said that people who were looking for jobs became more attracted to her training services, after the crisis. Advertising executive Denise Tucker explained that only 15% of Canadians did not read the newspaper, which made possible for a Canadian daily to go through the crisis. She said that continuous planning was vital for the success of small businesses. Financial adviser Jackie Ramler said that “global governments would come together to get the world through this crisis.” According to her, oil-rich Canada’s economy was doing better than Europe and the US, as the Canadian dollar was strong, and socialists had a more regulated banking system recently rated first worldwide.