DOHA: Amidst fears about the impact of the looming sovereign debt crisis in the US and Europe on the global economy, senior monetary officials from the Gulf aired confidence over the resilience of the Gulf economies and their determination to go ahead with plans for a single currency.
Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Governer Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said yesterday that Qatar had not been affected by the sovereign debt crisis in the US and Europe.
In a statement issued to a local Arabic daily, following the 11the meeting of the GCC Monetary Council Board in Doha on Wednesday, The QCB Governor said the GCC states were going ahead with plans for a singe currency, but no date had been set for its launch.
He said the launch date will be announced “when all steps required are met in a careful and scientific manner,” according to the Qatar News Agency.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) governor Mohammed Al Jasser also said that the Gulf states had not backed down from their plans to launch a unified currency.
“I have heard doubts (expressed about the single currency) only in the media. It is untrue,” Al Jasser told reporters following the GCC Monetary Council board meeting held here on Wednesday.
”There has been no delay... From the beginning, I have said that there will be no exact date to launch the single currency,” said Jasser, who is also chairman of the Riyadh-based Gulf Monetary Council.
”There are mechanisms that must be completed... Citizens and state agencies in our countries must be aware of the requirements before we launch the currency. We are forging ahead but no exact date must be determined,” he said.
Only four of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar—have signed the monetary council agreement.
The United Arab Emirates, the Gulf’s second largest economy, and Oman have pulled out. The UAE was upset that Riyadh was selected to be the base of the monetary council while Oman said it can not meet the necessary requirements.
Jasser said the bank governors also discussed the impact of the global debt crisis on Gulf economies. “Undoubtedly, no one can ignore what is happening in Europe right now, especially if you are thinking of a monetary union. This is a key issue and we must not ignore these developments,” he said. Gulf states have made some progress in their bid to launch a single currency which was initially slated for 2010 but analysts say the oil-rich nations still have a long way to go. When the Eurozone debt crisis reared up last year, GCC officials said they needed a “pause” in their single currency plan to study the full impact of the debt crisis on their economies. Five of the GCC states peg their currencies to the dollar while Kuwait pegs its dinar to a basket of currencies in which the dollar holds considerable weight.
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