Some Egyptian banks halt dealings with Qatari banks after rupture - bankers

A man walks past a branch of Qatar National Bank (QNB) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

CAIRO (Reuters) - Some Egyptian banks halted dealings with Qatari banks on Monday, four Cairo-based bankers said, responding to Cairo’s announcement that it had cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Egypt’s action, announced in Monday’s early hours, was coordinated with similar moves by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Egypt did not say if the measure included a suspension of trade with Qatar, and the Trade Ministry did not immediately respond to questions on this.

The four bankers said the halt to transactions with Qatari banks came on internal orders from management at their banks, and excludes the opening of letters of credit required for imports.

Some banks have stopped accepting Qatari currency while others are halting some treasury transactions, the bankers said.

Bankers at three other lenders said they had not received any orders and that it was business as usual so far.

There had been no official communication to banks from the Central Bank of Egypt on the split, the bankers said.

An Egyptian official confirmed to Reuters that the central bank had not ordered banks to suspend transactions in Qatari riyals.

As well as severing relations, Egypt announced the closure of its air space and seaports for all Qatari transportation and said this was to protect national security.

The sentiment against Qatar was shared by Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, who called on Egyptian businessmen to withdraw their investments from Qatar and halt business dealings with the Gulf state, his spokesperson said on Monday.

Additional reporting by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Giles Elgood and Mark Heinrich