Daily Management Review

The largest bank in Qatar is expanding its presence in Asia


Expansion of Qatar National Bank’s presence in Asia helps the lender to negate influence of the campaign conducted by Arab states to isolate Qatar, the bank's head stated. QNB’s shares have risen against this backdrop.

Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera English
The largest Middle Eastern bank in terms of assets intends to reduce share of revenues from operations in the domestic market from the current 67% to 50% by 2020, Ali al-Kuwari said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. According to him, the bank will apply for the opening of a branch in Hong Kong this year, and will transform its representation in China into a branch that will be able to accept deposits.

"We are going to build up a presence in Southeast Asia", al-Kuwari said at the bank's headquarters in Doha on Wednesday. "We do business in 31 countries, and our diversification really works and helps to overcome any crisis."

The bank also plans to open new offices in Oman, Kuwait and India, he said.

Qatar creditors were pressured after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Doha dismissed these charges as groundless. Following the political measures, the Arab states imposed economic sanctions and transport blockade on Qatar.

Some banks in these countries have reportedly reduced their presence in Qatar, while Qatari lenders raise interest rates on dollar deposits to maintain liquidity.

QNB shares rose 3.7% at 10:14 in Doha, demonstrating the maximum recovery in almost seven months. Shares fell 6.4% since the start of the Qatar blockade, contributing to a decline in the country's main stock index by 4.9% over the same period. QNB’s weight in the index is about 17%.

Influence from confrontation with neighboring states is "very small," said al-Kuwari. The Gulf countries "account for less than 5% of the balance." "Even if the situation continues forever, diversifying 5% is very simple," he stressed.

On Tuesday, QNB reported an increase in profits in the II quarter by 2% to SAR 3.45 billion ($ 929 million) amid a reduction in reserves and expenses. EFG-Hermes Holdings SAE estimated the profit at SAR 3.21 billion, while NBAD Securities projected SAR 3.47 billion.

The head of the Central Bank of Qatar, Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani said this week that Qatar has reserves of $ 340 billion, which can help the Persian Gulf country withstand isolation from the Arab states.

source: reuters.com

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