IMF tip cushions Qatar bank’s forex holdings

Doha • Qatar’s central bank has added the equivalent of about US$19 billion (RM80.56 billion) of previously unreported foreign-currency assets to its total reserves in August based on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendation, a move that help offset the impact of the Saudi-led embargo.

By adding “other liquid assets in foreign currencies”, the central bank’s total holdings show a decline of 15% to 141.84 billion riyals (RM165.36 billion) compared to May, a month before Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar. Total holdings under the previous method referred only to net international reserves, which dropped more than 40% in the same period to US$19.8 billion, the data show.

Foreign securities held by the central bank declined to 21 billion riyals in August from 27 billion riyals a month earlier and 82.5 billion riyals in May. “Other liquid assets” rose slightly to 69.6 billion riyals in August from 68.2 billion riyals a month ear- lier, up from 38.5 billion in May.

The bank said balances with foreign lenders rose 14.4 billion riyals in August to 45.2 billion riyals, the highest in at least two years. — Bloomberg

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