FILE: An aerial view of Doha's diplomatic area March 21, 2013 - REUTERS FILE: An aerial view of Doha's diplomatic area March 21, 2013 - REUTERS

Qatar repatriates $20 billion to ease Arab quartet’s boycott

Tue, Apr. 10, 2018
CAIRO – 10 April 2018: State-owned Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) repatriated $20 billion to the country to back Qatari banks during the ongoing diplomatic crisis, Bloomberg reported.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, over charges including funding terrorist organizations, harboring terrorists, interfering in other Arab countries’ internal affairs and destabilizing security of the Arab world.

Qatari banks have been suffering from accumulated foreign debts amounting to QR 177.3 billion since the start of the crisis.

During a speech in an international business conference six months after the quartet’s boycott, Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi said that Qatar’s 2018 state budget will focus on developing local industries and the private sector as the country works to be self-sufficient in the face of the boycott.

The government and the central bank have deposited billions of dollars in local banks to insulate them from withdrawals during the boycott, and Emadi made clear that the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter was prepared to deposit billions more if necessary.

Government spending to resist the boycott has raised speculation that its sovereign wealth fund, the QIA, with assets estimated at $300 billion, may sell some of its holdings to raise cash.

In October 2017, management consultants Cornerstone Global said in a top-secret study, passed to the BBC, that it’s certainly possible that Qatar will not host the 2022 World Cup due to “rising political risk”.

The study warned the constructing companies working on Qatar’s $200 billion infrastructure necessary for the 2022 World Cup, saying “Qatar may not be able to pay for the contractors.”
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