Dubai: Most exchange houses in the UAE no longer accept Qatari currency, as a diplomatic crisis between Qatar, the UAE and other Arab states stretches into its third day.

Out of ten large UAE exchange bureaus, just two — Al Ansari and UAE Exchange — were still trading in Qatari riyals (QR) on Wednesday.

A staff member of one firm, Al Fardan Exchange, said that they had been instructed to only sell the currency, and not buy them.

“From yesterday, Qatari cash in the market has dried up,” said Mohammad Al Ansari, the chairman and managing director of Al Ansari Exchange.

“It is not available. There is not a big amount in the hand of the customers for obvious reasons.”

The businessman, whose firm has more than 170 branches across the country, is also the chairman of the Foreign Exchange & Remittance Group (FERG), an industry body.

“Most of the exchange companies are rejecting [Qatari riyals] because they don’t have a way just to sell it back, because of the boycott.

“But for us, and for bigger operations, we have our ways,” he added.

“Nevertheless, because of the situation, the market purchase rate is 10 per cent below the official rate of Qatari riyal.”

As a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar’s currency traditionally traded at near parity to the Saudi riyal and UAE dirham.

Apart from Kuwait, all six GCC states have their currency pegged to the US dollar, making most Gulf currencies easy to exchange.

This means that anyone travelling to Qatar from the UAE — through non-direct flight routes — are unlikely to be affected by the shortage.

“I suggest for anyone, who has small amounts of Qatari riyal, just to keep it,” Al Ansari advised.

“Because otherwise they will lose about 10 per cent if they want to sell it at this moment.”