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Qatar's central bank chief strikes defiant tone after Fitch rating downgrade

  • Fitch downgraded the Gulf state's sovereign long-term debt rating by one notch to AA-minus on Monday, putting it on par with the two other major rating agencies – Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
  • Sheikh Abdullah argued "abnormal" geopolitical events in the region had likely prompted the rating agency's decision but the central bank believed its classification would change back in the "very near future", according to a statement on its website.
Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani attends a meeting with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) central bank chiefs in Kuwait City on March 24, 2010. GCC central bank chiefs are meeting to discuss progress towards regional monetary union.
YASSER AL-ZAYYAT | AFP | Getty Images
Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani attends a meeting with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) central bank chiefs in Kuwait City on March 24, 2010. GCC central bank chiefs are meeting to discuss progress towards regional monetary union.

Qatar's lenders are quite capable of withstanding the conditions imposed by the Saudi-led boycott despite the country's latest credit rating downgrade, central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said on Tuesday.

Fitch downgraded the Gulf state's sovereign long-term debt rating by one notch to AA-minus on Monday, putting it on par with the two other major rating agencies – Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

Fitch also forecast a negative outlook for Qatar, adding the country did not appear close to reaching a diplomatic solution with four of its Gulf neighbors.

Sheikh Abdullah argued "abnormal" geopolitical events in the region had likely prompted the rating agency's decision but the central bank believed its classification would change back in the "very near future", according to a statement on its website.

In June, Standard & Poor's rating agency slashed its credit rating for Qatar after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt all severed diplomatic relations and transport routes with Doha.

The four countries accuse Qatar of destabilizing the region by backing terrorism, a charge it denies.

Qatar and boycotting nations remain 'far apart'

Sheikh Abdullah argued that Qatari banks remained highly solvent and profitable while the central bank would continue to adhere to international regulatory standards, especially concerning capital adequacy and liquidity.

"International mediation efforts are still ongoing but are not showing significant progress," Fitch analysts Krisjanis Krustins and Jan Friederich said in a statement on Monday.

"In our view, the negotiating positions of Qatar and the boycotting countries remain far apart," they added.