Almost Half of Qatar’s Traditional Investor Base Has Cut Ties With the Country

Banks in the world’s wealthiest nation per capita will need to offer more yield if they tap the market as almost half of their traditional investor base has cut ties with the country.

Qatar National Bank QPSC, Commercial Bank QSC and Doha Bank QSC are considering funding options that include loans, private placements or dollar bonds, people familiar with the plans said. But investors and analysts say the lenders will have to pay more to compensate for the region’s political risk to drum up interest.

Read More: QNB Is Said Among Qatari Lenders Seeking Funding Amid Spat

Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations severed relations with Qatar two months ago accusing it of supporting extremist groups, a charge it denies. That led to a drop in foreign deposits in June, the steepest in almost two years, and a record jump in the three-month Qatar Interbank Offer Rate.

Here’s what analysts and investors had to say about borrowing costs for Qatari banks planning to tap the market:

  • While borrowing costs will rise, “the assumption of government support means yields won’t rise that much,” said Max Wolman, a London-based senior investment manager who helps oversee $11 billion in emerging-market debt at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc.
    • There could be interest from some Asian investors, given they were involved in some of the recent Middle East sovereign deals.
    • “If they look attractive from a yield perspective we could buy them. Currently we are very underweight Qatar” because the yields weren’t attractive
    • Looking at QNB’s dollar-denominated bonds due September 2021, the yields peaked at 3.8 percent and are currently around 3.1 percent, “so I would say a five-year at 3.5 to 3.75 percent would be attractive.”
  • Even if they offer “200 basis points over midswaps, I would not lend to them at this rate, as it will not cover for the risk of further deterioration,” said Marina Davies, a London-based senior credit analyst at Pioneer Investment Management Ltd., a company of Amundi Group that oversees over $1 trillion globally.
    • “Basically, we are talking not only about the price, but about the availability of such funding, as so far the banking system seems to be having capital outflows.”
    • “For now, if they don’t manage to raise money, the authorities will provide it as they have been doing until now. The short-term debt of the banks is significant, and it does not seem to be renewed. The sovereign is plugging it for now, but providing just enough foreign currency to compensate for the outflows.”
    • “However, we don’t know how liquid the sovereign funds are, and we can expect that the asset quality of the banks may deteriorate. Therefore, I believe the current levels don’t reflect the credit risk of this system.”
  • The risk premium demanded by the market has already gone up, after Moody’s Investors Service lowered their outlook on Qatari Banks, said Rami Jamal, a money manager at Amwal LLC in Doha, which oversees around one billion riyals ($270 million) in assets.
    • “Pricing thus becomes dependent primarily on the currency and the tenor of the debt. If QNB is looking to raise debt for five years in U.S. dollars, for example, the market will not accept anything below 3.50-3.75 percent range.”
    • “QNB has plenty of short-term funding maturing in the next two years.”
  • Asian investors could help Qatari banks keep yields on offerings relatively low, according to Zurich-based Philipp Good, who helps manage about 9 billion Swiss francs ($9.4 billion) at Fisch Asset Management AG.
    • “My best guess is that they find partners who give them money at a very low premium to current market prices.”
    • “Asian investors are still keen to put money into the Middle East and I do not doubt that they will get the money at similar spreads” as previous sales.
    • “I would expect no additional premium from where the market is today. Repricing has taken place already.”
  • Deterioration in the economy and possible further downgrades of Qatar’s long-term debt will drive local institutions to pay higher spreads as a result of the risk premium, said Tariq Qaqish, the managing director of the asset management division at Mena Corp. Financial Services in Dubai.
    • “In the short term, psychology will pay a big role in pricing new debt issues as investors are uncertain of the magnitude of the problem and, most importantly, the length.”
    • “As deposits decline and the average loan-to-deposit ratio rise, I expect most banks to tap the market and to pay a risk premium of 15-20 basis points.”

Qatari bank bonds maturing this year:




Amount due (in $ million)

QNB 13 Aug. 26 – Dec. 27 382
QIB 1 Oct. 10 750


1 Oct. 18 700


Jason Isbell on Modern Country: ‘Most of That Stuff Is Real Bad Music’

A few years ago, Jason Isbell was an ex-member of Drive-By Truckers, playing clubs and drinking way too much whiskey. Now, the Alabama native is headlining venues like Baltimore’s 19,000-seat Merriweather Post Pavilion while turning out sharp country-rock story-songs. (John Mayer has called him “the best lyric writer of my generation.”) Isbell’s new album, The Nashville Sound, gets heavier and more political than 2015’s Something More Than Free, which won Grammys, including Best Americana Album. On “White Man’s World,” he confronts the struggle his two-year-old daughter will face later in life, and “Cumberland Gap” captures the dismal anxiety of working in coal country. Isbell says his songwriting hot streak “had to do with when I got sober [in 2012]. That gave me a lot more time to work. I had more focus.”

You recently played the Outlaw Music Festival on the same bill as Bob Dylan. What did that mean to you?
It was pretty incredible, and you can tell he’s having a good time onstage right now. I actually have lyrics from “Boots of Spanish Leather” tattooed on my arm: “Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled, from across that lonesome ocean.” That line always means something to me in different ways, whether I’m talking about a relationship or some part of myself that I want to remain intact.

You had a great tweet recently. Explaining why you didn’t play any Nashville CMA Fest gigs, you said, “The reason is because I did not want to do that.”
I don’t like that kind of music at all. Sometimes I’ll hear a song that I really like that’s in that world. I like that song “Girl Crush.” Some of Miranda Lambert’s songs are really well-written. Stapleton’s great. But most of that stuff is just real bad music to me. It also seems like a huge mess. I like Nashville when it’s just regular old Nashville and there’s not a whole lot going on.

You live near a lot of mainstream country stars in Nashville. What happens when you run into them at the grocery store?
I don’t really get any shit from anybody. I own my record label. I have my own publishing. I do what I want. Nobody is selling a ton of records. Yesterday, someone tweeted the Garth Brooks Chris Gaines album sold 2 million copies. At the time, that was considered a disaster. Now, everyone would kill for that disaster. I don’t even know if Chris Stapleton’s Traveller is at 2 million yet. So we’re all in the same boat.

Your wife, Amanda Shires, is also a singer-songwriter. What’s life like at home?
We live out in the middle of nowhere, and we have all kinds of animals. We’re building a chicken run because a fox got all our damn chickens. You think it’s hard for conservatives and liberals to get along in this country? Try putting some free-range chickens and foxes together in Tennessee.

On The Daily Show, you said Trump’s election made you lose faith in the South. Did you catch heat from anyone in your home state of Alabama?
Well, The Daily Show is the least popular television show on cable in the state of Alabama. I’m kind of surprised how little trouble we’ve run into. When some people first heard this record, they said that I was gonna alienate half my audience. Where do they get those statistics? Kendrick Lamar probably does not have a whole lot of conservative listeners. I might alienate six or seven percent of my audience. But I gain a whole lot more to make up for it.

What’s surprised you most about Trump so far?
The Trump presidency has convinced me that we are living in a post-Christian America. I could see how a lot of conservative right-wing Christian Americans would vote for someone like Mitt Romney, who seems like a stand-up guy. But Trump is obviously not a good Christian person. I think the fact that so many people voted for him means that there aren’t that many good Christian people left in rural America. God is gone from those people.

There’s a line in “White Man’s World”: “Mama wants to change that Nashville sound / But they’re never gonna let her.” Are you writing about your wife?
Some idiot country-radio guy said that women were “the tomatoes on the salad,” meaning they were there to kind of decorate country radio’s actual revenue stream. That got me thinking how little value is given to women in that world. I’ve seen it with Amanda. She writes her own songs and tours, and through her experience I’ve seen how much harder it is for her. You don’t get the same respect. It is not a level playing field by any means.

You’re known as a great lyricist, but what’s your worst lyric?
My song “Cigarettes and Wine,” where I sort of break character: “She kept me happy all the time / I know that ain’t much of a line.” It always bothered me, but John Prine loves it. If it’s all right with him, I guess it’s all right.


Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like home

Image result for Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like home

Image result for Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like homeImage result for Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like home

The range features wooden chairs and stools, a modular shelving system, and a work desk with integrated accessories. The pieces are aimed at the creative industries but have been designed to be adaptable for a range of environments.

“We frequently customise furniture to meet our clients’ needs, so it was logical with our Work series to offer more flexibility as standard,” Another Country design director Catherine Aitken told Dezeen. “We looked to design a system that could be adapted for a number of different types and sizes of workplace.”

Work Series by Another Country

Another Country created the collection to introduce a warmer and more domestic atmosphere to the workplace, while still offering the flexibility that many offices need. The desk can be ordered in a range of sizes, and joined together to make larger workstations or separated for individual tables.

There are also several heights, for those who prefer to work standing up. The desk’s cable channel doubles as a home for its accompanying accessories, which include a pencil pot, planter and screen to give workers privacy.

Work Series by Another Country

The Work Series shelves can be adapted depending on what they’re being used for, and can be either placed side by side or at intervals for displaying plants or other objects. Each shelf is bookended by a brass loop.

“Our Work Series utilises a warm palette of materials and detailing not necessarily associated with office furniture,” added Aitken.

“It can be quite cold and clinical, and traditionally work environments have been intentionally different to domestic environments, with different materials, finishes and styling; however, this thinking is now being challenged.”

Work Series by Another Country

“The work place is rapidly changing and we feel benefits from a softer approach,” she continued. “Bringing in warmer materials and furniture that nods towards a domestic environment can be conducive to work.”

“Crucially workplace furniture needs to function well, but it can also be furniture that you develop a personal relationship with, furniture that is tactile.”


Work Series by Another Country