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Qatar: Country's leading bank posts profit rise despite crisis

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf emirate's top lender, on Wednesday reported a rise in its quarterly profits despite a trade boycott against Doha by a Saudi-led bloc of countries.

QNB, one of the largest banks in the Middle East and North Africa, said its net profit for the third quarter of 2017 was up 5.3 percent on the same period last year, at 3.6 billion riyals ($980 million, 830 million euros).

The bank's profit over the first nine months of 2017 also rose six percent on the same period last year, it said in a statement.

The report came as a diplomatic crisis that has seen Qatar isolated from its neighbours entered its fifth month.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed political and economic sanctions on Qatar, accusing the gas-rich emirate of support for radical Islamists.

Doha has categorically denied the charges.

Moody's Investors Service last month said that Qatar's banking, trade and tourism had been impacted by the sanctions.

The credit ratings group estimated that Qatar had spent $38.5 billion -- some 23 percent of its GDP -- on propping up its economy during the first two months of sanctions.

Moody's said some $30 billion had flowed out of Qatar's banking system in June and July, adding that a further decline was likely.

QNB said it has maintained a highly diversified international and local funding base.

The bank's total assets rose 11 percent to $216 billion on September 30, up from $194 billion a year ago.

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