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Qatar Reduces Stake in Credit Suisse | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen on an office building in Zurich. – Reuters

London- Despite the statements by a Qatari official on his country’s unwillingness to liquidate foreign assets, the Swiss Market website said Wednesday that Qatar’s stake, which allows it to vote in Credit Suisse Bank, has dropped to 15.91 percent from 17.98 percent reported in June.

The portion of the stake held in the form of registered shares edged down to 4.936 percent from 5.01 percent and purchase rights of 10.97 percent.

Notably, Credit Suisse’s second-quarter profit rose to 303 million Swiss francs, up from 170 million Swiss francs in the same period last year.

The Swiss bank’s statement coincided with a statement by that it was not planning to liquidate its assets around the world and that it would soon announce new global investments, without giving details.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, with around $300 billion to its name, is shrugging off the country’s diplomatic crisis with its neighbors and planning to expand its holdings.

Its chief executive was quoted on Wednesday as saying there were no plans to liquidate foreign assets — as some investors had speculated — and that the fund would soon announce big new international investments.

“We have just completed a tour of several countries around the world and you will hear about significant investments soon,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, who runs the Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

Despite Qatari attempts to spread reassurance, Qatar’s financial market is still 6 percent weaker than it was before the Saudi Arabian, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt’s cut of diplomatic ties with Doha as signs of “strain” are appearing on Qatar’s economy, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

Amy McAlister of consultancy firm Oxford Economics said central bank data showed reserves were running at their lowest level since May 2012, a slide of 30 percent compared with June 2016.

“Uncertainty will have prompted banks and portfolio investment funds to withdraw money from Qatar, leading to a fall in reserves as the central bank try to ease liquidity pressures,” she said.

“The central bank will have also depleted reserves to support the currency peg to the US dollar, which has seen pressure since the dispute began,” McAlister added.

Oxford Economics has revised its growth outlook for 2017 down to 1.4 percent, compared with 3.4 percent before the Gulf crisis, and re-evaluated inflation at 1.8 percent, up from the anticipated 1.5 percent, because of higher import costs.

Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have downgraded their credit ratings for Qatar.