1. Business
June 30, 2017updated 03 Jul 2017 12:12pm

Major UK banks stop trading Qatari currency

Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Tesco Bank have stopped trading in Qatari riyals amid diplomatic tensions in the Gulf.

Retail customers cannot currently buy or sell riyals at any of the four UK banks.

Qatar’s Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt ceased air, sea and land links with the country in early June, accusing it of backing terrorism.

Although Qatar denies the allegation. the move resulted in massive fluctuations in the value of the country’s currency, the riyal.

Qarar’s Central Bank (QCB) said reports of halted trading in the currency were “baseless”.

“Qatari riyal’s exchange rate is absolutely stable against the U.S. dollar, and its exchangeability inside and outside Qatar is guaranteed at any time at the official price,” QCB said.

However, UK banks acted in accordance with their suppliers.

 “In common with other banks, Barclays’ high street foreign exchange service is supplied by a third party, which has stopped providing the Qatari riyal,” a spokeswoman for Barclays said. “Unfortunately, we are therefore currently unable to buy the Riyal from or sell it to our retail customers.”

A “third-party supplier” which carries out its foreign exchange service had stopped trading Qatar riyals since 21 June, a spokeswoman for Lloyds Banking Group said.

 “This currency is no longer available for sale or buy-back across our high street banks including Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Halifax,” she added.

The UK Post Office stopped buying and selling the Qatari currency earlier this month, the Financial Times reported.

“Many foreign currency providers have temporarily stopped trading in Qatar riyals, meaning that the currency is not currently available at Post Office branches,” the Post Office said.

Earlier this week, the riyal traded as low as 3.7884 — its lowest level on record according to Bloomberg data reaching back to 1988.