The riyal is the official currency of the State of Qatar, a nation on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Although the riyal is symbolized as ر.ق in Arabic, it is most often denoted as QR in English. The riyal is a decimalised currency that is subdivided into 100 dirham, and it was introduced in 1973 to replace the previous riyal used jointly by Qatar and Dubai. The riyal has maintained a fixed exchange rate to the U.S. dollar at 1 QAR: 3.64 USD since 1980. The Qatar Central Bank is the sole issuing authority of the riyal, which is made available through circulating coins and banknotes. Coins are minted in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 dirham. Banknotes are printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyal.
Before the riyal was introduced, the Indian rupee was the official currency until India began issuing the Gulf rupee on par with the Indian rupee for use in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. In 1966, Qatar used the Saudi riyal as its currency until it could introduce the Qatar and Dubai riyal, jointly used by both countries, later that year. While the Saudi riyal exchanged with the Indian rupee at 1 riyal: 1.065 rupees, the Qatar and Dubai riyal was valued on par to the rupee. In 1971, Dubai joined the United Arab Emirates and adopted the UAE dirham. In 1973, Qatar formed the Qatar Monetary Agency (QMA), which began to issue a new riyal for the sole use of Qatar.
Abundant oil and natural gas deposits have made the Qatari economy one of the highest-income economies in the world. As of 2010, the GDP per capita of Qatar is the second highest in the world after that of the United Arab Emirates. Oil and gas contribute more than 50 percent to the total GDP and account for 85 percent of revenue from exports and 70 percent of government revenue. Proven oil reserves are expected to last nearly four decades. Labour is least available resource in Qatar. It is estimated that 94 percent of all labour in the country is performed by foreign workers. Since 2004, Qatar has sought to diversify its economy by developing two new sectors: a science and technology sector and a knowledge and education sector. In addition, the Qatar Financial Centre provides a strong backbone for the financial services sector.