Qatar stock ex­change drops as Arab ul­ti­ma­tum dead­line nears

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Qatar’s stock ex­change dropped Sun­day as the tiny Gulf na­tion braced for a dead­line to ac­cept de­mands from four Arab coun­tries in part over what they al­lege is its sup­port for ex­trem­ist groups.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off ties with 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar in early June, re­strict­ing ac­cess to their airspace and ports and seal­ing Qatar’s only land bor­der, which it shares with Saudi Ara­bia. They is­sued a 13-point list of de­mands to end the stand­off June 22 and gave the nat­u­ral gas-rich coun­try 10 days to com­ply.

Qatar’s main QE stock in­dex lost more than 3 per cent when it re­opened fol­low­ing a week­long hia­tus for the Eid al-Fitr hol­i­day break — its first ses­sion since the de­mands were laid out. It even­tu­ally re­cov­ered some of its losses later in the trad­ing ses­sion to close down 2.3 per cent at 8,822.15.

The dead­line is set to ex­pire by day’s end, though the coun­tries that is­sued the ul­ti­ma­tum did not pro­vide a pre­cise time or de­tail what im­me­di­ate penal­ties, if any, Qatar will face.

Qatar has re­peat­edly de­nied charges it supports ex­trem­ism and says the de­mands are an af­front to its sovereignty.

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