Finance minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi says huge state wealth means country can withstand sanctions
Qatar has said it has too much money to worry about Saudi Arabia cutting diplomatic ties with the country.
“We have sovereign wealth funds of 250 per cent of gross domestic product, we have Qatar Central Bank reserves, and we have a ministry of finance strategic reserve,” the country’s finance minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi told The Times.
His comments came after Saudi Arabia and its allies promised greater sanctions against Qatar, after announcing last month they would sever formal links with their neighbour which they accused it of supporting terrorism.
Qatar’s credit rating agencies have downgraded the country’s financial prospects, but Mr al-Emadi said Qatar still had better finances than its rivals.
“Bahrain and Egypt, they are at junk bond level,” he said. “If you look at Saudi Arabia, they are having genuine issues with their finances.
“We are the fastest-growing country in the region, 40 per cent faster than the nearest Gulf Co-operation Council country [the UAE].”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said they will “take all necessary political, economic and legal measures” against Qatar in a “timely manner”. They did not specify what those steps could include.
The four countries cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with World Cup 2022 host Qatar early last month. They later issued a 10-day ultimatum to a 13-point list of demands.
Qatar denies supporting extremism and sees the ultimatum as an affront to its sovereignty.
The four Arab states said Qatar’s refusal to agree to the demands “reflect(ed) its intention to continue its policy, aimed at destabilising security in the region.”