Qatar banks boost Dec provisions
Doha, January 19, 2010
Provisions made by Qatari banks rose 12.5 per cent in December compared with the previous month, while loans edged up slightly, the Gulf country's central bank data showed on Tuesday.
Total provisions reached QR5.9 billion ($1.62 billion) last month, up from QR5.2 billion in November. Bank loans in the world's largest natural gas exporter grew 0.7 per cent to QR231.2 billion, the data showed. Specific loan provisions rose 16.2 per cent to QR2.8 billion.
Farah Ahmed Hersi, senior economist at Masraf Al Rayan in Doha said the market consensus view was that some banks took high provisions due to exposure to two debt-laden Saudi conglomerates.
'Overall, the banks are standing on solid ground. Generally speaking, Qatari banks have very solid government support,' he said.
Commercial Bank of Qatar reported a 33 per cent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit, despite a 170 million riyal hit related to a corporate default.
Total assets in the country's banking sector rose 2.2 per cent to QR471.2 billion, the data showed.-Reuters