Arab deadline effect: Qatar stock exchange drops

Arab deadline effect: Qatar stock exchange drops

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DUBAI, — Qatar’s stock exchange has dropped following an extended holiday closure as the tiny Gulf nation faces a deadline to accept demands from four Arab countries.

The benchmark QE Index lost more than 3 percent Sunday before recovering some of its losses later in the trading session to close down 2.3 percent at 8,822.15.

The market was last open before the Eid Al-Fitr holiday on June 22. That was the day that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain issued Qatar a 13-point list of demands and gave it 10 days to comply.

Qatar faces possible further sanctions by Arab states over Doha’s links to terrorism, as a deadline to accept their demands expired on Sunday night.

The countries have said they will impose further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands presented to Doha by Kuwait.

The UAE ambassador to Russia has said Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands.

Gulf states could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or with Doha, he said in a newspaper interview last week.

They have not specified what further sanctions they could impose on Doha but commercial bankers in the region believe that Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini banks might pull deposits and interbank loans from Qatar.

UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash played down the chances of an escalation, saying “the alternative is not escalation but parting ways”, suggesting Qatar may be forced out of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations Abdullah Al-Moallemi said on Twitter that Qatar had failed to take opportunities offered by its neighbors in the past to stop supporting terrorism.

“Qatar had insisted on shaking the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and interfering in the affairs of countries in the region,” Moallemi said.

“Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt made a sovereign decision to boycott Qatar in order to maintain security in the region and pressure Doha to halt its support of terrorism,” Moallemi said in a statement published by the Saudi Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

“Qatar has chosen Iran as its ally. It has supported terrorist groups for 20 years now despite their schemes against the region’s countries,” Moallemi added.

He also said that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have given Qatar several opportunities to remain within its “natural fold.”

He added: “Qatar was given several chances to end its support of terrorism and not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. The last of these chances were in 2013 and 2014 but these attempts failed as it did not commit to the demands asked of it.” — Agencies