Qatar's economy is 'heaven' despite blockade: Economy minister

Key Points
  • Qatar's Economy and Trade minister said that the state's finances are faring "better than ever" despite a blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and other major Arab nations
  • Ahmed Bin Jassim Al-Thani described the embargo placed on Qatar as an "opportunity" to explore new trade relationships
  • Moody's said last week that Qatar had burned through roughly $38.5 billion to soften the blow of the embargo in its first two months
Qatar's economic minister weighs in on Gulf blockade

Qatar's economy has been blockaded by a number of major Arab nations since June 5, though according to the state's Economy and Trade minister, it is faring "better than ever."

Ahmed Bin Jassim Al-Thani, Qatar's economic minister, told CNBC Monday that the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, was instead an "opportunity" which led to the opening of new trade routes with Turkey, Kuwait and Oman, among others.

Al-Thani's assertions come despite a Moody's report last week which said that Qatar had burned through roughly $38.5 billion to soften the blow of the embargo in its first two months. This is equivalent to 23 percent of Qatar's gross domestic product.

Al-Thani explained that Qatar activated an alternative plan to cope with the blockade of its land border "in the first few hours" meaning that "consumers … never felt anything in terms of supplying goods."

While Qatar is one of the world's largest gas exporters, Al-Thani asserted that the state has "Never missed a ship because of a blockade and all our exports are on schedule."

The skyline of Doha, Qatar.
Tim De Waele | Corbis | Getty Images

Al-Thani described the Qatari economy, which is the richest per capita in the world, as "heaven," largely thanks to its sharing of the world's largest natural gas field with neighboring Iran.

Tensions between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours continue to simmer away. According to Reuters on Monday, Bahrain accused Qatar of unlawfully seizing three boats with 16 sailors on board. Qatar said that it had detained the boats for illegally entering its territorial waters, but would release them in due course.

Also on Monday, Qatar's Defense minister signed a letter of intent to buy 24 Typhoon jets from the U.K.'s BAE Systems.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain accuse Qatar of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, but Al-Thani argued that "Qatar is a country. We don't deal with groups. We deal with countries."