Pressure increases on energy-rich Qatar

The credit rating and overall economy for the OPEC member and natural gas leader could be at risk, finance agencies warned this week.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  June 9, 2017 at 6:48 AM
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June 9 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia and its Middle East allies said Friday they were committed to combating terrorism, condemning further the actions of OPEC-member Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and its regional allies on Monday severed ties with Qatar because of its alleged support for terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Sunni militants aligned with the Islamic State. The row raised questions over the durability of an agreement led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance the market through managed production declines as many of the countries involved in the regional spat are members of the group.

The government in Riyadh, through the official Saudi Press Agency, said it was joined by its counterparts in Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in targeting terrorist funding and extremist ideology.

"Qatar's actions in contravention of its commitments include supporting and harboring elements and organizations that threaten the national security of other states," the SPA reported.

Moody's Investors Service warned Thursday there may be economic consequences for Qatar, which is a world leader in the delivery of liquefied natural gas.

"If geopolitical tensions persist, the economic impact for Qatar could weigh on its credit profile," Moody's warned.

The Institute of International Finance, based in Washington D.C., warned the economic impact would be limited only by a quick settlement of the crisis.

Kuwait's oil minister this week said Qatar was still committed to its obligations under the OPEC-led production agreement. The disagreement could have other impacts, however, as the Persian Gulf is a major choke point for oil and gas moving from the ports of regional producers.

Monday's decision helped drag crude oil prices below the $50 per barrel floor that was supported by the OPEC-led decision.

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