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Qatar: Our economy can withstand the blockade

Customers are seen shopping at Al Meera market in Doha, Qatar on 9 June 2017 [Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency]
Customers are seen shopping at Al Meera market in Doha, Qatar on 9 June 2017 [Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency]

Doha won't be the sole loser in an ongoing spat between the wealthy monarchy and seven Middle Eastern governments, warned Qatari Finance Minister, Ali Shareef Al-Emadi.

Speaking to CNBC in an exclusive interview, the minister called the political rift "very unfortunate" as it inconvenienced human lives. "Families are being disrupted around these countries."

"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 sanctions have disrupted flows of imports and other materials into Qatar and caused many foreign banks to scale back their business with the country.

But Al-Emadi said the energy sector and economy of the world's top liquefied natural gas exporter were essentially operating as normal and that there had not been a serious impact on bank operations and supplies of food or other goods.

Read: Qatar has absorbed the shock of the siege, says researcher

"We are business as usual, and we are open for business," he said.

We know that we might have one or two challenges here and there, but this is a country that is very resilient. We have the assets and security that we need.

Qatar can import goods from Turkey, the Far East or Europe and it will respond to the crisis by diversifying its economy even more, the minister told CNBC.

The Qatari riyal has come under pressure, but Al-Emadi said this was not a cause for concern.

#QatarGate

"Our reserves and investment funds are more than 250 per cent 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."

Asked whether Qatar might need to raise money by selling off stakes in large Western companies held by its sovereign wealth fund, Al-Emadi indicated this was not on the cards at present.

"We are extremely comfortable with our positions, our investments and liquidity in our systems," he said.

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Middle EastNewsQatarSaudi ArabiaUAE
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