Since over a year now, Qatar has been cut off diplomatically and economically by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The blockade was announced after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s remarks on Qatar News Agency (QNA) in May 2017. The prolonged blockade is having a significant impact on Qatar and other GCC economies.
This paper argues that the blockade has had a tremendous impact on Qatar’s economy, in particular, the financial markets and banking sector. Using quarterly and monthly financial data of eight commercial banks in Qatar before and after the blockade, the paper examines how the structure of deposits and loans in the Qatar’s banking sector has changed during the ongoing crisis.
The results of this study reveal that immediately after the blockade began, due from banks abroad and non-resident deposits at Qatar’s banks declined. Subsequently, the Qatar Central Bank sold holdings of foreign securities and injected funds to shore up the domestic banking sector. In addition, due to the financial support by the Central Bank and Investment Authority, the performance of the commercial banks in Qatar has been on a recovery trend since the second half of 2017, and there have been outstanding differences between banks performance with credit risk exposures to Arab Quartet markets and other banks. Finally, this study finds that financial dependence on the government sector can act as a buffer against external shocks.