WASHINGTON: Kuwait’s Central Bank Governor Mohammad Al-Hashel was given a Grade A rating amongst his global counterparts for the second year in a row by Global Finance, a magazine specialized in banking and finance. In recognition of their efforts, Hashel along with other governors were handed awards at the magazine’s annual ceremony, held in Washington on Saturday, amid World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings. Since 1994, the magazine has been conducting its assessment, which covers over 94 countries. The evaluation is based on several criteria, including the management of inflation and interest rates alongside measures assumed to achieve economic growth and the stability of the local currency.
In its annual report on the occasion, Global Finance praised Hashel’s choice to keep the Central Bank’s policy rate unchanged at 3 percent this year in spite of the US Federal Reserve’s raising of its own rates in September and December 2018. “Hashel said that decision was based on a desire to bolster economic growth and improve the competitiveness of the dinar, which is pegged to a basket of currencies, including the dollar,” the report reads. As a result, it said Kuwait’s economic growth is expected to “accelerate this year, supported by government spending and credit expansion.” US stock index provider MSCI will likely be upgrading Kuwait to emerging market status next June, it added. This will offer the prospect of luring billions of dollars-worth of investments into the country’s stock market. – KUNA