The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the bank’s profits
Qatar National Bank said its assets passed the QR 1 trillion milestone even as general profits took a 16% hit.
The 9% increase in assets came as the bank also booked 5.8 billion riyals in loan-loss provisions, compared with 3.18 billion riyals a year ago, according to a statement on Tuesday.
The company’s profit dropped from QR 14.4bn in 2019 to QR 12bn in 2020, likely as a consequence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Considering the long-term financial impacts of COVID-19, QNB Group decided to set aside an additional 5.8 billion (riyals) in respect of loan loss provisions as a precautionary measure, which affected the net profit for the year,” the bank said.
The outlook for the country’s economy is looking up as the Gulf Blockade came to an end in early January, as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, along with Qatar signed the Al Ula declaration.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who is also chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, told the Financial Times that “if there are opportunities that we see in the future and we see a continuation of the political will of the countries to engage, we are very open.”
Saudi investors are also expected to start shifting their funds into the Qatari market, according to renowned ratings agency, Fitch.
Previously, the cutting of ties between the blockading quartet and Qatar led to the withdrawal of about $30 billion of non-resident deposits from the country’s banks in June-October 2017, mainly by Saudi depositors and some from the UAE, according to Fitch.
It tightened the country’s foreign-currency liquidity, and Qatari authorities stepped in with $40 billion of sovereign liquidity injections, Fitch added.
The easing of the stand-off will also help bring back local tourism, which would help revive Qatar’s real estate and hospitality sectors.