Qatari Riyal (QAR) Definition

What is the Qatari Riyal (QAR)?

QR is the currency code for the Qatari riyal, the currency of the state of Qatar which is located along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The Qatari riyal is made up of 100 dirhams. The currency abbreviation is QR, in English. Riyal is also often referred to as rial. All Qatar banknotes and coins are issued by the Central Bank of Qatar whose objectives include monetary stability and regulatory control of the currency.

Key points to remember

  • The Qatari riyal is the official currency of the State of Qatar. The currency code is QAR and the abbreviation is QR.
  • The QAR is pegged to the USD at a rate of 1 USD/QAR 3.64 and is allowed to fluctuate within a band between 3.6385 and 3.6415.
  • The Central Bank of Qatar oversees the issuance of currencies and exercises regulatory control to maintain currency pegs.
  • The peg has largely been maintained in both domestic and overseas markets, although the QAR fell to 3.81 in 2017 (overseas markets) when several countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on the basis of terrorism allegations.
  • The Qatari riyal has banknote denominations of one, five, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyals. The denominations of the coins are one, five, 10, 25 and 50 dirhams.

Understanding the Qatari Riyal (QAR)

The Qatari riyal replaced the Qatari and Dubai riyal in 1973 when Dubai entered the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Around this time, Qatar started issuing its riyal separately. The Qatari and Dubai riyal came into use in 1966, when the previous currency, the rupeewas replaced due to the devaluation of its currency by India.

The riyal is pegged to the US dollar (USD) at 3.64 QAR for one USD, or USD/QAR = 3.64. The peg became official in 2001 when it was enshrined in law by royal decree. In accordance with the law, the currency will be kept within a range between 3.6385 and 3.6415 riyals per USD.

Since Qatar’s economy is heavily dependent on commodities such as oil and natural gas, pegging its currency reduces potential economic shocks because these commodity prices are denominated in US dollars. The oil and gas industry represents the majority of Qatar Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Qatari riyal has banknote denominations of one, five, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyals. The denominations of the coins are one, five, 10, 25 and 50 dirhams.

Currency fluctuation

In 2017, the value of the riyal changed in the offshore market after some foreign countries stopped dealing with Qatari banks, which created a lack of liquiditypushing the value of the riyal to 3.81 in some foreign markets.

During this time, and after, the official peg rate of 3.64 remained in force in Qatar. This period, referred to as the diplomatic crisis, resulted from several countries severing diplomatic ties and not allowing Qatar to use their airspace or sea routes as it was alleged that Qatar was supporting terrorism.

In January 2021, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed a “solidarity and stability” agreement aimed at ending the diplomatic rift (commercial ties and land, sea and air blockade ) against Qatar.

Currency exchange

If you are traveling to Qatar, the ankle the exchange rate is 1 USD for 3.64 QAR. Unfortunately, live exchange is not the rate a traveler who wants QR cash will get. The banks and currency exchange services typically charge a service fee of 3% to 5% and factor it into the exchange rate they offer to the customer. Therefore, instead of getting 3.64 QR for every USD, the traveler will likely get 3.46, which is almost 5% less.

The exchange makes money on the difference between the two rates.

Suppose the traveler converts $1,000 at this rate and receives 3,460 QR. They spend some of it during their trip, but not all of it. When they return to the US, they want to convert their remaining 1,500 QR back to USD.

$179.6 billion

Qatar’s GDP in 2021, as of August 14, 2022.

The official USD/QAR exchange rate is still 3.64. To find out what each QAR is worth in USD, divide one by 3.64, for a rate of 0.274725. This is the QAR/USD rate.

Therefore, the money the traveler should receive is $412.09 (1,500 QR x $0.274725). But remember that banks and exchange offices usually charge a service fee and include this fee in the exchange rate.

Therefore, instead of getting $0.274725 for each QAR, the traveler will likely get a fare closer to $0.261, or almost 5% less. So, instead of receiving $412.09, they receive $391.50 (1,500 QR x $0.261).

Is the Qatari currency pegged to another currency?

The Qatari currency is pegged to the US dollar at a fixed rate of $1 = QR 3.64.

What was the currency of Qatar before the Riyal?

The currency that Qatar had before the riyal was the Dubai riyal. Before that, it used the Saudi Riyal. Before the Saudi Riyal, the main currency was the Gulf Rupee.

Which countries use riyals?

Countries that use the riyal are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, and Yemen.

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