Qatar says it has $340b to weather Arab sanc­tions

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

DUBAI, United Arab Emi­rates — Doha has $340 bil­lion in re­serves in­clud­ing hold­ings of its sovereign wealth fund that could help the Gulf coun­try to weather the iso­la­tion by its pow­er­ful Arab neigh­bors, Qatari Cen­tral Bank Gover­nor Sheikh Ab­dul­lah bin Saoud al-Thani told CNBC.

“This is the cred­i­bil­ity of our sys­tem, we have enough cash to pre­serve any ... kind of shock,” he told the news chan­nel in an in­ter­view pub­lished on Mon­day on its web­site.

Thani said the bank has $40 bil­lion in re­serves plus gold, while the Qatar In­vest­ment Author­ity has $300 bil­lion in re­serves that it could liq­ui­date.

Qatari stocks have weak­ened and the riyal has been volatile in the spot mar­ket since Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplo­matic and trans­port ties with Qatar on June 5, ac­cus­ing it of back­ing ter­ror­ism. Doha has de­nied these al­le­ga­tions.

“Qatar has al­ready had a good and unique sys­tem. We have laws es­tab­lished against all these kinds of ter­ror­ists,” Thani said. “We work with the IMF (In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund) and other in­sti­tu­tions to estab­lish our laws and au­dits and re­views.

“We have no chal­lenges, we wel­come those to re­view all our books, they are open,” he added. Thani said while the cen­tral bank has no­ticed fund out­flows from some non-res­i­dents, the amounts weren’t par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant.

“There is more com­ing in,” he said, con­firm­ing that in­flows are ex­ceed­ing out­flows.

He said long-term con­tracts in the gas and oil sec­tors were not see­ing any dis­rup­tions.

Rat­ing agency Moody’s In­vestors Ser­vice this month changed the out­look on Qatar’s credit rat­ing to neg­a­tive from sta­ble, cit­ing eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial risks aris­ing from the on­go­ing dis­pute.

De­spite the mar­ket ruc­tions, econ­o­mists say Qatar, the world’s top liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas ex­porter, has taken a num­ber of mea­sures such as a planned boost in gas out­put and new trans­port routes to weather the cri­sis.

Mean­while, US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son was sched­uled to em­bark on his first shut­tle diplo­macy mis­sion this week, hop­ping be­tween Gulf Arab na­tions in a bid to re­solve the cri­sis.

The State De­part­ment said Tiller­son would shut­tle be­tween Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia from Mon­day to Thurs­day seek­ing to ease long-sim­mer­ing ten­sions that boiled over last month.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has also voiced his readi­ness to shut­tle among the Gulf coun­tries, Turk­ish me­dia re­ported.

We have no chal­lenges, we wel­come those to re­view all our books, they are open.” Sheikh Ab­dul­lah bin Saoud al-Thani, Qatari cen­tral bank gover­nor

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