Qatar has released the second tranche of funds – worth about QR2bn ($549m) – into the banking sector in the latest effort to help banks recover from the impact of the global financial crisis.

The funds will appear in the balance sheets of the listed banks for the current year.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Yousef Hussein Kamal on Wednesday, The Peninsula reported on Thursday, citing Qatar News Agency.

He said that the state sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), will pick a further five percent stake in all the listed banks in return for the investment.

QIA released the first tranche of funds worth $5.3bn in October, 2008. The capital injection was part of the state initiative to prop up the local banks amid the global recession which hit banking and financial institutions worldwide.

Qatari banks, like their peers in the region, were expected to see their 2009 profitability challenged by slower loan growth, funding constraints and increasing impairment charges.

Kamal told Qatar News Agency that the second tranche of funds released was part of the state’s plans to pick up to a 20 percent stake in listed banks.

Quoting the minister, the news agency reported that the financial back-up provided to the banks was aimed at helping them strengthen their capacity to finance development projects.

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