(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Satish Kanady / The Peninsula
The unprecedented blockade against Qatar has helped the local banks to reinvent themselves to explore the opportunities lying beyond their traditional markets. The blockade gave an opportunity for Qatari banks to tap new markets that they haven't been to before, QIIB CEO Dr Abdulbasi Ahmed Al Shaibei (pictured) has said.
Just like any other sectors of the Qatari economy, the banks have found their ways to stabilise themselves by realigning with new markets.
' All these years, we have been mainly focusing on our traditional markets. Now, we are in the markets that we thought that we don't have to go and are moving to more places geographically, Dr Al Shaibei told The Peninsula, yesterday.
Currently, Qatari banks are not facing any serious funding pressures. The market is very stable and there is enough liquidity in the system. Deposits are also growing, he said.
'Yes, in the beginning, the banking sector was surprised by the unprecedented blockade decision. It was really surprising that the neighbouring countries will act like this. But the fact is that the banks do all kinds of risk analysis The QCB always has contingency plans for different scenarios and different conditions. Thanks to QCB's capital injection, the banking system successfully overcame the shock in a short period.
'There is no funding pressure, market is very stable and smooth; and we are seeing growth in deposits, he said.
On QIIB's plans to issue latest round of sukuk, Dr Al Shaibei said the bank is weighing the market pricing.
'Our $700m Sukuk is maturing on October 18. We have approval to issue $2bn sukuk. We may either go for $700 issuance or $500. As of now, we do not face any liquidity problem. So we are currently testing the market to see whether the prices are acceptable for us, he said.
'If we think we will get the price that we are expecting, we will issue the next round of sukuks. Otherwise, we will put our plans on hold.
The planned bond sale follows the bank's decision in April to renew a sukuk issuance programme of up to $2bn.
On the banking sector's fourth quarter expected performance Dr Al Shaibei said the economy is promising. There will be extra deposits in the banks. The blockade has proved that Qatar can turn challenges into opportunities. The country's private sector is growing at a record pace.
'We have lot of opportunities in the private sector. When the private sector becomes more independent, the banking sector will definitely benefit from it.
These positive trends will certainly reflect in the final quarters, he said.
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