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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lucky to be here..

Friday morning saw my kids and I floating on our backs in a swimming pool, looking up at a blue sky before enjoying a barbeque.

With daily reports of both dreary weather and economic gloom from home - 18 were made redundant from my sister’s office last week - I felt lucky to be in Qatar.

Qatar is not unaffected by the crisis. The property sector is buckling, and oil and gas prices have fallen to too low a level to justify the huge ongoing investment needed for the future.

The Emir himself has said that what we are seeing now are just the first signs of a global recession that will affect exporting as well as importing companies.

However, in Qatar, unlike much of the rest of the world, the recession does not dominate the conversation.

And unlike my own country, Qatar used the good times to build up huge budget surpluses - and it is not afraid to use it to support struggling home industries.

Huge investment is still going ahead, and there are no plans to cut government spending.

Qatar may well yet be affected by the recession - but right now, I feel lucky to be here.

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