Qatar finance minister dismisses concerns of food shortages: CNBC

Qatari Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al-Emadi speaks to CNBC.
Updated 13 June 2017

Qatar finance minister dismisses concerns of food shortages: CNBC

JEDDAH: Qatari Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al-Emadi has dismissed concerns that his country is dependent on Gulf neighbors for food imports.
Ever since Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of being associated with terror groups, some Qatari local media reports have constructed a narrative that their country is under blockade and is facing a humanitarian crisis.
But Al-Emadi said there is no such crisis. Speaking in an exclusive interview to CNBC International’s Hadley Gamble on Monday, he said Qatar had previously imported food and other goods from places as far as Brazil and Australia.
“So the government will continue that,” he said. “Whether it’s Turkey, the Far East or Europe, Doha will ensure that it has enough partners to get things done. We’re going to make sure that we’re even more diversified than we were before.”
The minister, who is also president of Qatar Airways’ executive board, brushed aside concerns of a financial meltdown.
However, the Doha index tumbled 7.1 percent last week, Reuters reported, while the Qatari riyal has been falling against the dollar on worries of capital outflows.
While the reaction was “understandable,” there is no need to worry as Qatar has all the tools required to defend its economy and currency, Al-Emadi said.
“Our reserves and investment funds are more than 250 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), so I don’t think there’s any reason that people need to be concerned about what’s happening or any speculation on the Qatari riyal,” he added.
“We’re extremely comfortable with our positions, our investments and liquidity in our systems,” he said, adding that he sees no need for the government to step into the market and buy bonds.
“We’re still an AA country, and we’re one of the top 20 or 25 globally on our ratings... so I think we’re very much better than a lot of people around us,” he said.
“Qatar is always open for business... We have what it takes to defend if we have to do anything locally.”


Marine monitor reports departure of Iran tanker after Gibraltar rejects US demand

Updated 10 min 10 sec ago

Marine monitor reports departure of Iran tanker after Gibraltar rejects US demand

  • Gibraltar authorities have not confirmed the tanker's departure

GIBRALTAR: The Iranian oil tanker at the center of a diplomatic dispute departed from Gibraltar late Sunday after the British overseas territory rejected a US demand to seize the vessel.
According to the monitoring website Marine Traffic, the supertanker which had been detained since July 4 off the coast of Gibraltar lifted anchor Sunday evening and started sailing south.
Authorities in Gibraltar have not confirmed its departure.