Middle East news

Published: November 30, -0001

Regional crisis puts pressure on Qatari banks

Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar merger details are scarce at the moment amidst a series of rating agencies’ downgrades as trade sanctions by Gulf countries hit the economy.

Fitch Ratings has downgraded nine of Qatar’s banks as a regional political dispute that has cut the country off from its neighbours rumbles on with no sign of a resolution.

In June, several Middle Eastern countries, led by the region’s largest economy, Saudi Arabia, severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed strict trade and travel bans. The group claimed that Qatar was financing and supporting terrorist groups, and made a series of demands that ranged from closing the Al-Jazeera news channel to reducing diplomatic ties with Iran. Qatar has so far refused the demands, leading to it being essentially cut off from its nearest neighbours.

The country was in the middle of a major investment in infrastructure ahead of the 2022 football World Cup, and has been trying to market itself as a financial centre for investors in the wider Gulf region.

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