Qatar has $340bn in reserves to counter economic shocks

10 July 2017

Qatar Investment Authority has $300bn in reserves that it could liquidate

Qatar has reserves of $340bn including cash and assets of its sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) that gives the peninsular nation the ability to weather any economic shock, Qatar Central Bank (QCB) governor Abdullah Bin Saoud al-Thani has said.

“This is the credibility of our system, we have enough cash to preserve any - any kind of shock,” Al-Thani told news channels CNBC in an interview, which was posted on its website.

QCB has $40bn in cash reserves plus gold, while QIA, which is ranked the world’s ninth-biggest government-controlled investment vehicle by Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, has $300bn in reserves that it could liquidate, according to Al-Thani.

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is currently facing an economic blockade and isolation by a bloc of the largely Arab nations that accuse Doha of financing terrorism, meddling in their affairs and destabilising the region. Qatar says the allegations are “baseless”.

“Qatar has already had a good and unique system. We have laws established against all these kinds of terrorists,” he 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.

The ongoing crisis, which has seen Doha rejecting a list of demand by the blockading countries including shutting down the pan-Arab TV channel Al-Jazeera and closure of a Turkish military base in the country, has hurt the Qatari equities and Qatari riyal has seen volatile trading in the spot market.

QCB, Al-Thani said, has noticed outflows of funds from some non-residents, however, the amounts weren’t particularly significant. “There is more coming in,” he said, confirming that inflows are exceeding outflows.

Qatar’s long-term contracts in the gas and oil sectors have not seen any disruption, according to him.

The international rating agencies, however, have been on the side of caution on Qatar. US’ Moody’s Investors Service, last week revised its outlook on Qatar credit rating to negative from stable, saying the country faces financial risk in in the wake of the regional dispute.

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