Confidence Qatar’s state finances is tumbling in the wake of a diplomatic row that has seen neighbouring states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cut ties.
Credit rating agency S&P cut its long-term rating of Qatar one notch from AA to AA- late on Wednesday and implied that further downgrades were likely.
The cost of insuring against a sovereign bond default, through contracts known as credit default swaps rose sharply, Reuters reported, with the market pricing in a 6% chance of a default within five years.
CDS on Qatari sovereign bonds rose more than 10% to 89 points, Reuters said, up from 80 on Wednesday and 65.5 from last week.
Qatar’s neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic and trade ties with the country, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Qatar has denied the allegations.
The Qatari stock market has tumbled around 9% since the announcement and its currency, the riyal, has fallen to an 11-year low.
Here’s the chart of the stock market:
Qatar is one of the richest nations on the planet by gross domestic product per capita. It is the 18th-most-competitive country, according to the World Economic Forum’s benchmark Global Competitiveness Report.
It is a small nation of just 2.4 million people, most of whom are foreign workers.
But tensions in the region are rising. On Wednesday Bahrain’s foreign minister said it would consider “any options” to protect itself from Qatar.
Bahrain’s Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said:”We will not hesitate to protect our interests and the road is open to any options to protect ourselves from Qatar,” according to Saudi newspaper Mecca.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s parliament approved a bill to deploy its troops to a military base in Qatar in a show of support for the now-isolated country, Reuters reported.