The State of Qatar is a small peninsular nation that lies on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a sole land border with Saudi Arabia to the south and is surrounded by the Persian Gulf on all other sides. The country spans an area of 11,581 sq km (4,471 sq mi). Its capital is the eastern coastal city of Doha (Al-Dawhah), home to over 80% of the country’s inhabitants.
As an independent emirate, Qatar has been ruled by the House of Thani since 1868, when Mohammed bin Thani signed an agreement with Britain that recognized its separate status. After the Ottomans left, Qatar became a British protectorate in 1916 and became independent in 1971. However, the monarchy still nurtures close ties with Western powers as part of its national security policy.
Qatar has the 4th-highest GDP per capita in the world and the 11th-highest GNI per capita. It is a high-income economy that is powered by its natural resources. Qatar has the third-largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves. It is also the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, and the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide per capita.
The Qatari riyal (ISO code: QAR) is the official currency of the State of Qatar. It is divided into 100 dirhams. The Qatar Central Bank currently issues all notes and coins.
Qatar used the Gulf rupee as its currency until 1966, when India devalued it. Qatar briefly adopted the Saudi riyal before formally introducing the Qatar and Dubai riyal on March 21, 1966. The Qatar and Dubai riyal was pegged with one shilling and nine pence. When Dubai entered the United Arab Emirates, Qatar began issuing the Qatari riyal separate from Dubai. The Qatari riyal is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of 3.64 QAR to 1 USD. This peg became official due to a Royal Decree in 2001.
Qatar used the Gulf rupee as its currency until 1966, when India devalued it. Qatar briefly adopted the Saudi riyal before formally introducing the Qatar and Dubai riyal on March 21, 1966. The Qatar and Dubai riyal was pegged with one shilling and nine pence. When Dubai entered the United Arab Emirates, Qatar began issuing the Qatari riyal separate from Dubai. The Qatar Monetary Agency took over the responsibilities of the Qatar-Dubai Currency Board and the Qatari riyal and the Qatar-Dubai riyal circulated in parallel for 90 days.
Qatar Monetary Agency
The Qatar Monetary Agency (QMA) was established by decree 7 of 1973. On May 9, 1973, Qatar and Dubai terminated the Qatar-Dubai Currency Agreement and the agency started issuing the Qatari riyal ten days later.
The first series of Qatari riyal notes were printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson, and Company. They featured the Qatari coat of arms and different landmarks and had six-digit serial numbers, solid security threads, and falcon head watermarks.
Meanwhile, the second series of notes were printed by De La Rue. They featured new designs including an updated coat of arms and security threads with printed QATARI MONETARY AGENCY.
A modified 1-riyal note was issued in 1985 due to the confusion between the 1-riyal and 100-riyal notes. This 1 riyal note featured the updated coat of arms in front and the Mosque of the Sheikhs, the Foreign Ministry building, and Emiri Palace at the back. Security features of the note included a solid security thread with printed QATAR MONETARY AGENCY and a variety of falcon head watermarks.
Qatar Central Bank
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) was established by decree 15 on August 15, 1993. All the coins and notes issued by the Qatar Monetary Agency became property of the bank, but these also continued to circulate until 2006. The Qatar Central Bank is now the sole issuer of Qatari riyal banknotes.
The newly established Qatar Central Bank issued a new series of banknotes that featured the name of the new issuer, added another signature, and slightly changed the designs of the 1981 notes to accommodate the added signature. The riyal is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of one US dollar to 3.64 Qatari riyal. The peg became official in 2001.
In 2003, a new series of notes were issued. Animals were added to the reverse designs. Added security features, like windowed security threads and electrotype watermarks were also incorporated into the 2003 series.
Four years later, the Central Bank updated the security features of the 100- and 500-riyal notes with Optiks. Optiks are 18-mm wide security threads with polymer oval apertures. The Optiks replaced the windowed security threads. Some details in these notes were shifted to accommodate the Optiks thread.
The 100-riyal note was introduced by the Central Bank of Qatar in 2007. It has green and purple colors and dimensions of 158 mm x 72mm. Its obverse side contains Arabic text, a holographic patch, and the Qatari coat of arms. Its reverse side features the Mosque of the Sheikhs with a minaret and the Shaqab Institute building. Security features of the note include a solid security thread, an Optiks security thread, and a watermark of a falcon head with electrotype Arabic number over 100 and Cornerstones.
On September 15, 2008, the Qatar Central Bank issued a new series of four new notes- the 1 riyal, the 5 riyal, the 10 riyal, and the 50 riyal notes. Larger denominations are in the works, but because the 100- and 500-riyal notes were updated a year prior, the bank did not need to update them.
The 2008 1-riyal note was introduced by the Central Bank of Qatar in 2008. It has blue, brown, and purple colors and dimensions of 134 mm x 66 mm. Its obverse side features the Qatari coat of arms with a dhow, palm trees, and crossed swords. Its reverse side features three native birds: the crested lark, the Eurasian bee eater, and the lesser sand plover. Security features of the note include a solid security thread and a windowed security thread with demetallized QCB 1. The watermarks of the note are a falcon head and an electrotype 1 and Arabic number.
The value of the riyal shifted in the offshore market after some foreign countries ceased dealing with Qatari banks in 2017. Several countries cut diplomatic ties and refused Qatar rights after Qatar was allegedly supporting terrorism. This diplomatic crisis created a liquidity shortfall and pushed the value of the riyal to 3.81 in foreign markets. However, the official peg rate stayed at 3.64 within Qatar. As of 2019, there are still countries that refuse to have diplomatic relations with Qatar.
In 2020, the Qatar Central Bank issued a new series of banknotes. The denominations included in the series are 1 riyal, 5 riyals, 10 riyals, 50 riyals, 100 riyals, 200 riyals, and 500 riyals. Each note features the national arms, the national flag, and a door on the front side and a different cultural vignette at the back. The notes also have enhanced security features, including a flower SPARK feature.
Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2022. To celebrate this occasion, the Central Bank issued a commemorative 22-riyal note. The note features the FIFA World Cup trophy, the FIFA World Cup 2022 logo, the Lusail Iconic Stadium, and the al-Bayt Stadium.