Daily Management Review

'If We Lose A Dollar, They Will Lose A Dollar', Says Qatar Finance Minister


Even as Qatari Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi stressed that his country's resilience to any potential economic shocks, he said that Doha won't be the sole loser in an ongoing spat between the oil rich monarchy and seven Middle Eastern governments.
"A lot of people think we're the only ones to lose in this... if we're going to lose a dollar, they will lose a dollar also," he said in reference to Gulf Cooperation Council nations.
The minister called the political rift "very unfortunate" as it inconvenienced human lives while speaking to CNBC in an interview. "Families are being disrupted around these countries."
Accusing the oil-rich monarchy of supporting terrorism, as President Donald Trump urges Muslim leaders to take stronger stance against extremists, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the U.A.E. and Egypt are among the leading Arab governments who cut ties with Doha last week. And with Riyadh recently closing its land border, the four Arab states have said they would close air and sea transport links with Doha.
In Qatar, reports have emerged of panic buying at supermarkets amid fears of a food shortage during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan because the country is dependent on Gulf neighbors for food imports to feed its 2.5 million strong population — the bulk of which are expatriates.
However, Al Emadi was quick to dismiss those concerns.
He said that the government will pursue its previous policy of importing food and other goods from places as far as Brazil and Australia. He continued that Doha will ensure that it has enough partners to get things done – whether its Turkey, the Far East or Europe.
"We are going to make sure that we are even more diversified than we were before."
Concerns of a financial market meltdown were definitely brushed away by the minister, who is also president of Qatar Airways' executive board. According to Reuters, while the Qatari riyal has been falling against the greenback on worries of capital outflows, the Doha index tumbled 7.1 percent last week.
Al Emadi said that there was no need to worry as Doha has all the tools required to defend its economy and currency, while the reaction was "understandable."
"Our reserves and investment funds are more than 250 percent of gross domestic product, so I don't think there is any reason that people need to be concerned about what's happening or any speculation on the Qatari riyal."
"We are extremely comfortable with our positions, our investments and liquidity in our systems," he continued, adding that he saw no need for the government to step into the market and buy bonds.
"We're still a AA country and we're one of the top 20 or 25 globally on our ratings ... so I think we are very much better than a lot of people around us."
"Qatar is always open for business...We have what it takes to defend if we have to do anything locally."

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