A diplomatic spat between Qatar and other Gulf states that spiraled out of control on Monday could have a serious economic impact on the peninsular country’s residents and citizens in the short term.
However, UAE-based financial advisor Andrew Prince said that as the wealthiest country in the world per capita, Qatar was strong enough to withstand the economic fallout of the move going forward.
As of date, Qatar is seeing a short-term crisis as residents have rushed to supermarkets to stock up on food items after Saudi Arabia closed the country’s only land border.
“It won’t have a huge impact on trade as Qatar’s main trading partners are European countries,” he opined. “Qatar is wealthy enough to almost excommunicate itself from large parts of the region.”
He said that Qatar’s main export, liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European trading partners, would remain untouched. “If we look at its gas as an example, it exports a lot of its gas to Europe and the rest of the world.”
He further added that the only way Qatar could get impacted was if the United Nations (UN) passed economic sanctions on it. But “Unless there is hard evidence that they are supporting terrorism, I don’t see the UN backing a resolution for worldwide sanctions, specifically on oil.”
He said that the abrupt slump in Qatari stocks from a negative 7% on Monday could swing in the opposite direction just as quickly.
“Any sort of blips in markets tends to be just that. It potentially could be over in 48-72 hours.”
The diplomatic rift was sparked when State-run Qatar News Agency published fake statements attributed to the country’s leader, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on May 25, saying Qatar had “tensions” with the Trump administration and Iran is a “big power in the stabilization of the region.”
Even as Qatar claimed that the Qatari news agency was hacked, media outlets in the region, especially in Saudi Arabia and UAE carried the statements, sparking a rift that resulted in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, and Egypt ceasing diplomatic relations, cancelling flight connections, and ordering Qatari citizens out of their territories.
What about the UAE?
Mishal Al Gergawi, managing director of the UAE-based think-tank, the Delma Institute, said that he did not think the crisis would be resolved anytime soon.
“In 2013, there was a similar action, but it was not nearly as severe as this one.”
According to him, the fallout on GCC economies would be negligible, as they are not major trading partners with Qatar.
“I don’t think Qatar is a very large trade partner with any of these countries. It doesn’t export anything beyond oil and gas, or re-export for that matter.”
He said the UAE could suffer marginal tourism and real-estate losses from the fallout.“It doesn’t have a large population, so Qatari tourism which is going to indefinitely decrease isn’t that large.
“Qatar doesn’t have a large population, and so Qatari tourism which is going to indefinitely decrease isn’t that large. Maybe there is something on the real estate market but again, how big is the Qatari industrial market going to go?”
“So I don’t see how it’s going to have a huge economic impact or even a significant impact on the UAE economy,” he said.