Qatar has no plans to issue debt on international markets next year and will adjust as necessary its hitherto fixed offerings of local currency debt, the Gulf Arab country’s finance minister said on Tuesday.
Asked if Qatar planned to issue debt on the international markets next year, Ali Sherif al-Emadi told Reuters on the sidelines of a financial conference in Doha: “No, nothing.”
“We are going to focus on the local market and it will be used for monetary purposes. It is only for monetary and liquidity management. That’s about it,” he said in his first public comments since his appointment in June.
The OPEC member last came to the international market with a $4 billion three-tranche sukuk issue in July 2012, which attracted an order book worth more than $25 billion.
Its central bank has conducted monthly auctions of 91-, 182- and 273-day T-bills since 2011, consistently draining the same amount of four billion riyals ($1.1 billion) despite build-ups of excess liquidity as well as a recent fall in demand linked to geopolitical tensions over a civil war in Syria.
In March, the central bank launched debt sales worth a total four billion riyals in three and five-year local currency government bonds and sukuk in quarterly issues allocated directly to banks.
But Emadi said the volumes drained from the market through local debt issues may be changed flexibly in the coming months, echoing April remarks by Central Bank Governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani.
“We are very much dynamic, comparing the models. We always look at the market and if it is required we will be flexible when we need to,” he said.
Qatar, the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter, may need more active liquidity management in coming years as it plans to spend some $140 billion on infrastructure building, partly in preparation for hosting the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.
In January, the International Monetary Fund said Qatar’s central bank needed to start managing liquidity fluctuations more finely through more flexible open market operations.