China / World

Qatar says it has $340b to weather Arab sanctions

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-07-11 07:03

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.

Reuters - Ap - Xinhua

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