Regional

Qatar Central Bank cuts interest rates by at least 50 basis points

ABU DHABI: Qatar’s Central Bank slashed Tuesday key interest rates by at least 50 basis points for the first time since August, its website showed.

The move brought the main overnight deposit rate to 1 percent, from 1.5 percent, the website www.qcb.gov.qa showed.

The overnight lending facility and the repo rate were also both reduced to 5 percent from the original 5.5 percent and 5.55 percent, respectively.

The Central Bank did not explain reasons for the rate reductions.

Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, last changed its policy settings in August when it trimmed its deposit rate by 50 basis points but left other rates unchanged.

Analysts had said last year’s cut was aimed at boosting Qatar’s non-oil economy and curbing capital inflows.

Qatar’s economy is expected to surge by 15.8 percent in real terms this year, one of the fastest growth rates in the world, benefiting from recent gas output expansion, a 19 percent rise in state spending and robust crude prices.

Qatar pegs its currency to the dollar, which limits the Central Bank’s flexibility to move too far from the U.S. benchmark rate as that could trigger larger capital flows and put the peg under pressure.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 06, 2011, on page 5.

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