Port bans choke Qatar's commodity trade as gas supply worries grow

Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer -

By Roslan Khasawneh and Oleg Vukmanovic

SINGAPORE/LONDON (Reuters) - A campaign by leading Arab powers to isolate Qatar is disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible jolt to the global gas market, where the tiny Gulf state is a major player.

Just a day after Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies severed transport links with Qatar over a diplomatic row, bans on Doha's fleet using regional ports and anchorages threatened to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Traders worried that Riyadh's allies would refuse to accept LNG shipments from the Gulf state, and that Egypt might even bar tankers carrying Qatari cargoes from using the Suez Canal as they head to Europe and beyond - although Cairo is bound by an international agreement to let them use the waterway.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, in the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.

U.S. President Donald Trump joined in the dispute on Tuesday, saying leaders he met on a Middle East trip had warned him that Doha was funding "radical ideology". Qatar vehemently denies the accusations made against it.

Qatar is now unable to load crude oil onto supertankers together with other Gulf-based grades, and price agency S&P Global Plat....

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