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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal, a postgraduate in Econometrics with an advance qualification in Capital Markets and Financial Services, is Gulf Times' journalist. His coverage areas are debt and equity, hydrocarbons, international trade, environment, banks, insurance and real estate. Previously, he was in New Delhi, India as Senior Finance Correspondent of PTI.
Gulf Times
Business
QSE sheds 50 points as foreign funds turn net sellers

The Qatar Stock Exchange Monday shed more than 50 points despite buying support from the local, Arab and foreign retail investors. .text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px; }@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;} } **media[70687]** The telecom, realty and banking sectors witnessed higher than average net profit booking as the 20-stock Qatar Index shed 0.48% to 10,336.17 points. The foreign institutions were seen bearish in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 3.23%. About 71% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, which however touched an intraday high of 10,393 points. The Gulf individuals were seen net sellers in the main market, whose capitalisation eroded QR3.88bn or 0.63% to QR609.97bn with small and midcap segments losing the most. The Gulf funds lower net buying interests was visible in the main bourse, which saw a total of 0.61mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR1.46mn changed hands across 87 deals. The domestic institutions continued to be net profit takers but with lesser intensity in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds. The Islamic index was seen declining faster than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills. The Total Return Index fell 0.48%, All Share Index by 0.55% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.58% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover grew amidst lower volumes. The telecom sector index tanked 1.74%, realty (0.97%), banks and financial services (0.76%), consumer goods and services (0.47%), transport (0.46%) and insurance (0.4%); while industrials gained 0.21%. Major shakers in the main market included Qatar Oman Investment, Salam International Investment, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Medicare Group, Ahlibank Qatar, Commercial Bank, Alijarah Holding, Qatari German Medical Devices, Widam Food, Qatar National Cement, Qamco and Ooredoo. Nevertheless, Gulf International Services, Meeza, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Islamic Insurance and Estithmar Holding were among the gainers in the main bourse. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mahhar Holding saw their stocks appreciate in value. The foreign institutions were net sellers to the tune of QR36.3mn compared with net buyers of QR0.42mn on August 27. The Gulf individual investors were net sellers to the extent of QR2.31mn against net buyers of QR0.27mn the previous day. The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened noticeably to QR5.57mn compared to QR12.24mn on Sunday. However, the local individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR29.8mn against net sellers of QR5.83mn on August 27. The Arab retail investors’ net buying increased considerably to QR8.74mn compared to QR4.82mn the previous day. The foreign individuals’ net buying strengthened markedly to QR5.44mn against QR1.72mn on Sunday. The domestic funds’ net profit booking shrank perceptibly to QR10.93mn compared to QR13.64mn on August 27. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the third straight session. Trade volumes in the main market was down 1% to 135.23mn shares, while value rose 27% to QR373.53mn and deals by 35% to 14,478. The venture market saw a 30% contraction in trade volumes to 0.51mn equities, 29% in value to QR1.11mn and 18% in transactions to 140.

Gulf Times
Business
FTSE Russell upgrades Ooredoo to large cap in GEIS

FTSE Russell, a London Stock Exchange group entity, has upgraded Ooredoo to large cap from midcap in its global equity index series (GEIS).The latest move comes in the backdrop of semi-annual review of FTSE Russell, which is a global index leader that provides innovative benchmarking, analytics and data solutions for investors worldwide.The index provider had downgraded Masraf Al Rayan to midcap from large cap; and Doha Bank to small cap from midcap segment.The index review changes announced may be subject to revision until close of business on September 1, 2023. Effective Monday, September 4, 2023, the index review changes will be considered final.The revision will be effective on September 14, 2023 after the close for the Qatari market.The FTSE GEIS is a global equity index framework that includes more than 16,000 large, mid, small and micro-cap securities across 48 developed and emerging markets.It has a wide range of indexes available for investors, allowing them to focus on specific markets and market segments.FTSE Russell calculates thousands of indexes that measure and benchmark markets and asset classes in more than 70 countries, covering 98% of the investable market globally.Dukhan Bank had found its place within the midcap segment in the GEIS.FTSE Russell also included Qatari German Medical Devices with its microcap segment, while it deleted Medicare Group from its small cap and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing and Doha Insurance from the microcap segments.

Gulf Times
Business
GCC banks’ credit expansion remains strong in Q2-2023: Kamco Invest

Credit expansion in the Gulf Co-operation Council or GCC banks remained strong during the second quarter (Q2) of 2023 despite higher interest rates, according to Kamco Invest, a regional economic think-tank.Several new big-ticket projects and reform initiatives were announced in the GCC giving further boost to corporate lending, Kamco Invest said in a report.Aggregate outstanding credit facilities in almost all the countries in the GCC showed sequential growth during the quarter mainly led by a robust projects market pipeline as well as government efforts to reduce the impact of higher interest rates, it said.Manufacturing activity data from Bloomberg (Markit whole economy surveys) showed PMI (purchasing managers' index) figures stayed strong during the quarter above the growth mark of 50 for Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.The manufacturing activity in Saudi Arabia remained robust with PMI at 59.6 points during June-2023 and remained elevated at during July-2023 at a slightly lower mark of 57.7. The UAE and Qatar also boasted strong PMI figures of 56.9 and 53.8 during June-2023.Data from the GCC central banks showed a growth in lending across the region during Q2-2023 although the rate of growth decelerated in several markets during the quarter. Saudi Arabia recorded the strongest growth in outstanding credit facilities during Q2-2023 at 2.5%; while growth in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman were below 1%.The GCC banks continued to record growth in lending during Q2-2023 backed by growth in all markets in the GCC. Aggregate gross loans reached a new record high of $1.91tn, up 1.9% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) and 6.5% year-on-year (y-o-y).Saudi-listed banks reported the strongest q-o-q growth in lending at 2.7% to $640bn at the end of Q2-2023. Bahrain-listed banks were next with a growth of 2.5% in gross loans that reached $58bn; followed by UAE-listed banks with a growth of 2.1% to $529bn. Banks in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman reported slightly smaller growth in gross loans during the quarter.In terms of type of banks, conventional banks once again recorded a bigger growth in lending during the quarter with a growth of 2.2% to $1.3tn, while Islamic lender’s lending grew at almost half that pace of 1.3% to $596bn.The trend in net loan growth was almost in line with gross loan with aggregate net loans at $1.82tn at the end of Q2-2023 registering a q-o-q growth of 1.7%. The growth was led by higher net loans recorded in all GCC countries with Saudi Arabia recording the biggest growth of 2.8% q-o-q while that in Qatar was flat.The aggregate net interest margin (NIM) reported by the GCC-listed banks increased for the third consecutive quarter during Q2-2023 to 3.2% compared to 3.1% the previous quarter.The increase reflected elevated net interest income during the trailing twelve-month period adding additional rate hikes since the start of 2022. A smaller increase in earning assets also contributed to the growth in NIMs.The q-o-q growth in NIM was seen across the GCC banking sectors barring Qatar which reported a marginal decline during Q2-2023.The UAE-listed banks showed the biggest improvement in NIMs during the quarter with an increase of 16 bps to 3.44%, followed by Saudi Arabian banks at 3.23% and 3.05% by Qatari banks during Q2-2023.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE bull-run continues for the second day as index gains 22 points

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Sunday opened the week on a stronger note with its key index gaining 22 points, extending the bullish run for the second consecutive session. .text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px; }@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;} } **media[70258]** Buying interests, especially in the telecom, transport, real estate, consumer goods and banking sectors led the 20-stock Qatar Index jump 0.21% to 10,386.51 points. The foreign individuals were seen net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed further to 2.76%. About half of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main bourse, which touched an intraday high of 10,398 points. The foreign institutions turned bullish in the main market, whose capitalisation added QR1.54bn or 0.25% to QR613.85bn with small and microcap segments gaining the most. The Gulf funds continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, which saw a total of 1,845 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.01mn changed hands across four deals. The domestic institutions were seen increasingly into net profit booking in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds. The Islamic index underperformed the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills. The Total Return Index rose 0.21%, All Share Index by 0.18% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.13% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline. The telecom sector index soared 2.78%, transport (0.46%), real estate (0.39%), consumer goods and services (0.38%) and banks and financial services (0.28%); while industrials and insurance declined 0.77% and 0.21% respectively. Major gainers in the main market included Meeza, Widam Food, Ooredoo, Medicare Group, Doha Insurance, Qatar National Cement and Gulf Warehousing. Nevertheless, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Qatar Islamic Insurance, Lesha Bank, Estithmar Holding, Industries Qatar, Inma Holding and Al Khaleej Takaful were among the losers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value. The foreign individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.72mn compared with net sellers of QR6.51mn on August 24. The foreign institutions were net buyers to the extent of QR0.42mn against net sellers of QR7.17mn last Thursday. The local individuals’ net selling declined perceptibly to QR5.83mn compared to QR10.64mn the previous trading day. However, the domestic funds’ net profit booking expanded considerably to QR13.64mn against QR1.21mn on August 24. The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened noticeably to QR12.24mn compared to QR16.85mn last Thursday. The Arab individual investors’ net buying decreased considerably to QR4.82mn against QR8.02mn the previous trading day. The Gulf individual investors’ net buying eased marginally to QR0.27mn compared to QR0.66mn on August 24. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second straight session. Trade volumes in the main market shrank 15% to 136.99mn shares, value by 24% to QR294.36mn and deals by 38% to 10,724. The venture market saw a 30% contraction in trade volumes to 0.73mn equities and 30% in value to QR1.56mn but on 43% growth in transactions to 170.

The real estate, transport and banking counters witnessed higher than average selling pressure as the 20-stock Qatar Index fell 207 points or 1.96% this week.
Business
China's smaller rate cut, Jackson Hole meet dampen sentiments as index tanks 207 points; M-cap melts QR9bn

China's smaller cut in rates and the expectations of future interest rates from the global central bankers' meet in Jackson Hole had their reflections on the Qatar Stock .text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px; }@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;} } **media[69511]** Exchange (QSE), which closed the week lower. The real estate, transport and banking counters witnessed higher than average selling pressure as the 20-stock Qatar Index fell 207 points or 1.96% this week which saw the QSE launch covered short selling as well securities lending and borrowing mechanisms to spruce up the market. The local retail investors’ net profit booking pressure was instrumental in an overall bearish overhang on the main bourse this week which saw the listing of Meeza as the 51st constituent. The foreign retail investors were seen bearish in the main market this week which saw the QSE acting chief executive officer Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi disclose about three more listings in this year. About 69% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse this week which saw FTSE Russell include Dukhan Bank and Qatari German Medical Devices in its mid and microcap indices. The Gulf institutions’ weakened net buying had its influence on the main market this week which saw Aamal Service bag QR15.4mn contract from the Ministry of Municipality. The Islamic index was seen declining slower than the main index this week which saw Estithmar Holding sign a memorandum of understanding with Ooredoo Qatar. The foreign funds continued to be net sellers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse this week which saw a total of 0.04mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.08mn trade across 11 deals. The domestic institutions were seen bullish in the main market this week which saw as many as 0.03mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange-traded fund QETF valued at QR0.31mn change hands across 20 transactions. Market capitalisation eroded QR9.03bn or 1.45% to QR612.31bn on the back of large and midcap segments this week which saw the banks and industrials sectors together constitute about 58% of the total trade volume in the main market. The Total Return Index shed 1.96%, the All Share Index by 1.72% and the All Islamic Index by 1.94% this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds. The transport sector index plunged 2.82%, transport (2.21%), banks and financial services (2.07%), industrials (1.8%) and consumer goods and services (1.28%); while insurance gained 1.64% and telecom 0.62% this week which saw no trading of treasury bills. Major losers in the main bourse included Masraf Al Rayan, Al Khaleej Takaful, Ezdan, Mazaya Qatar, Qamco, Alijarah Holding, Commercial Bank, QGMD, Medicare Group, Baladna, Barwa, Industries Qatar, Nakilat, Milaha and Gulf Warehousing. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mahhar Holding saw their equities depreciate in value this week. Nevertheless, Qatar Oman Investment, Qatar Insurance, Estithmar Holding, Mekdam Holding, Zad Holding and Widam Food were among the gainers in the main bourse this week. The local retail investors’ net selling increased substantially to QR73.04mn against QR5.74mn the week ended August 17. The foreign individuals turned net sellers to the tune of QR4.46mn compared with net buyers of QR16.04mn a week ago. The Gulf institutions’ net buying declined noticeably to QR47.62mn against QR53.13mn the previous week. However, the domestic funds were net buyers to the extent of QR63.5mn compared with net sellers of QR21.59mn the week ended August 17. The Arab retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR2.38mn against net profit takers of QR2.2mn a week ago. The Arab funds were net buyers to the extent of QR0.08mn compared with net sellers of QR0.13mn the previous week. The Gulf individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.07mn against net profit takers of QR0.1mn the week ended August 17. The foreign funds’ net selling weakened perceptibly to QR36.15mn compared to QR39.41mn a week ago. The main market witnessed a 6% jump in trade volumes to 761.61mn shares, 3% in value to QR1.96bn and 13% in deals to 86,041 this week. In the venture market, trade volumes tanked 41% to 5.13mn equities, value by 37% to QR12.12mn on 46% in transactions to 899.

Qatar is one of the two countries among the core Islamic finance markets in the second-highest category, Group B, where the recoveries range from superior to poor, according to Fitch, a global credit rating agency
Business
Qatar figures as second highest category in recovery on Islamic finance: Fitch

Qatar is one of the two countries among the core Islamic finance markets in the second-highest category, Group B, where the recoveries range from superior to poor, according to Fitch, a global credit rating agency.Fitch covers 14 out of the 57 member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (QIC) in its updated country-specific treatment of recovery ratings criteria. Countries are split into four groups (A to D), with differing caps on instrument ratings and recovery ratings based on country-specific factors.More than half of the OIC countries are in Group D – the lowest level of recovery, while none are in Group A."The UAE and Qatar are the only countries among the core Islamic finance markets in the second-highest category, Group B, where the recoveries range from superior to poor," it said.Finding that sukuk restructuring scenarios continue to develop slowly and unevenly across various jurisdictions, it said so far distressed sukuk have been limited in most jurisdictions where sukuk issuance is prevalent; only 0.21% of all sukuk issued globally have defaulted as of end of first half of 2023.Furthermore, a number of distressed issuers and investors have preferred out-of-court consensual restructurings. Hence, there is a lack of restructuring and legal precedents relating to effective enforcement, despite the growth of the global sukuk market over the past decade.Sukuk issued on international capital markets are typically governed by English law, but a lack of legal precedents means it is often uncertain whether sukuk holders can enforce their contractual rights in local courts where the originator is domiciled, should this be necessary.This uncertainty also applies to conventional bonds issued in the same countries.Efforts to improve standardisation and comparability across different sukuk structures and legal frameworks have continued, including the creation of the Higher Shariah Authority in the UAE.Still, the enforceability of investor rights, recourse, debt ranking and recoveries upon issuer default could be complicated by the differences in underlying Islamic contractual arrangements.Most sukuk have created an economic effect similar to that of conventional bonds, but they can resemble equity-like investments. The issuance of hybrid sukuk, with equity- and debt-like components, is also growing.

Gulf Times
Business
Buying support in industrials, consumer goods and realty lifts QSE 32 points

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Thursday snapped three consecutive sessions of bearish run as it gained more than 32 points on the back of buying interests, especially in the industrials, consumer goods and real estate sectors.The Arab retail investors were seen increasingly into net buying as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.31% to 10,364.71 points.The local retail investors’ substantially weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed to 2.96%.More than 58% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, which touched an intraday high of 10,398 points.The Gulf institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser vigour in the main market, whose capitalisation added QR2.72bn or 0.45% to QR612.31bn with midcap segments gaining the most.The foreign individuals were seen bearish in the main bourse, which saw a total of 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.05mn changed hands across six deals.The domestic institutions turned net profit takers in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index outperformed the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.31%, All Share Index by 0.37% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.44% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The industrials sector index shot up 0.91%, consumer goods and services (0.71%), realty (0.64%) and banks and financial services (0.26%); whereas transport declined 0.36%, insurance (0.13%) and telecom (0.1%).Major gainers in the main market included Meeza, Qatar Oman Investment, Salam International Investment, Alijarah Holding, Estithmar Holding, Lesha Bank, Industries Qatar, QIIB, Qatari Investors Group, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Mazaya Qatar, Ezdan and Vodafone Qatar.Nevertheless, Doha Insurance, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Baladna, Dlala and Dukhan Bank were among the losers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The Arab individual investors’ net buying expanded considerably to QR8.02mn against QR1.39mn on August 23.The local retail investors’ net selling declined substantially to QR10.64mn compared to QR47.05mn on Wednesday.However, the foreign institutions were net sellers to the tune of QR7.17mn against net buyers of QR9.03mn the previous day.The foreign individuals turned net sellers to the extent of QR6.51mn compared with net buyers of QR1.97mn on August 23.The domestic institutions were net profit takers to the tune of QR1.21mn against net buyers of QR7.61mn on Wednesday.The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened noticeably to QR16.85mn compared to QR25.22mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying eased marginally to QR0.66mn against QR1.75mn on August 23.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure compared with net buyers to the extent of QR0.08mn on Wednesday.Trade volumes in the main market tanked 10% to 161.49mn shares, value by 20% to QR385.57mn and deals by 31% to 17,263.The venture market saw about five-fold jump in trade volumes to 1.05mn equities and more than five-fold growth in value to QR2.22mn on more than doubled transactions to 119.

An across the board selling, particularly in the industrials, led the 20-stock Qatar Index tank 1.17% to 10,332.38 points Wednesday.
Business
Across the board selling drags QSE 122 points; M-cap melts QR5bn

Awaiting hints on interest rates from the major central bankers’ meet in Jackson Hole, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Wednesday plummeted more than 122 points and.text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[68487]**capitalisation eroded QR5bn.An across the board selling, particularly in the industrials, led the 20-stock Qatar Index tank 1.17% to 10,332.38 points.The local retail investors turned net profit takers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 3.26%.More than 65% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, which touched an intraday high of 10,459 points.However, the Gulf institutions were increasingly net buyers in the main market, whose capitalisation melted 0.88% to QR609.59bn with mid and small cap segments losing the most.The foreign funds were seen bullish in the main bourse, which saw a total of 0.03mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.17mn changed hands across 13 deals.The domestic institutions were increasingly net buyers in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index fell slower than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shrank 1.17%, All Share Index by 1.12% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.06% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the rise.The industrials sector index plummeted 1.66%, banks and financial services (1.15%), real estate (0.99%), telecom (0.91%), consume goods and services (0.76%), transport (0.36%) and insurance (0.36%).Major losers in the main bourse included Inma Holding, Beema, Industries Qatar, Salam International Investment, Qatar Islamic Insurance, QNB, Commercial Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Qamco, Mazaya Qatar, Ezdan, Vodafone Qatar, Gulf Warehousing and Nakilat. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mahhar Holding saw their shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Meeza, Dlala, Gulf International Services, Milaha and Mannai Corporation were among the gainers in the main market.The local retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR47.05mn against net buyers of QR2.32mn on August 22.However, the Gulf institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR25.22mn compared to QR2.68mn on Tuesday.The foreign institutions were net buyers to the extent of QR9.03mn against net profit takers of QR6.33mn the previous day.The domestic institutions’ net buying strengthened noticeably to QR7.61mn compared to QR3.4mn on August 22.The foreign retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.97mn against net sellers of QR1.06mn on Tuesday.The Gulf individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR1.75mn compared with net sellers of QR1.58mn the previous day.The Arab individual investors’ net buying expanded perceptibly to QR1.39mn against QR0.07mn on August 22.The Arab institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.08mn compared with no major net exposure for the previous three sessions.Trade volumes in the main market soared 42% to 179.47mn shares, value by 44% to QR482.3mn and deals by 77% to 25,120.The venture market saw a 13% surge in trade volumes to 0.23mn equities but on 7% decline in value to QR0.41mn amidst flat transactions at 58.

Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah al-Thani, Meeza chairman and Ahmad Abdulla al-Muslemani, chief executive officer of Meeza jointly ring the customary bell to mark the advent of Meeza on the QSE’s trading ring. Also seen are QSE acting chief executive officer Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi and other dignitaries.  PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
Meeza shares jump 6% on QSE debut; becomes 51st listed company

Meeza, the country's first initial public offering (IPO) through book-building route, yesterday saw its shares vault 6% on debut in an otherwise bearish Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE).With this addition, the main market of the QSE now has a total of 51 listed companies, further enhancing its dynamic landscape. The shares of Meeza, a Qatar Foundation joint venture, were listed with the symbol "MEZA" under the consumer goods and services sector.The opening price was QR2.22, and the closing was recorded at QR2.30; representing a market capitalisation of QR1.49bn. The highest price during the session was QR2.535, while the lowest price was QR2.22. Its shares had risen more than 10% intraday.The offering price has been set at QR2.17, consisting of a nominal value of QR1 and an issuance premium of QR1.16, along with a listing fee of QR0.01 per share, based on the documents submitted by the company."The successful listing of Meeza marks a significant milestone in our continuous efforts to expand the scope of our listing companies. Meeza's expertise in the technology sector makes it a valuable addition to our diverse portfolio of listed companies," QSE acting chief executive officer Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi said.A total of 40.67mn shares valued at QR98.79 changed hands across 6,306 deals. Meeza accounted for about 76.75%, 77.34% and 81.61% of the trade volume, value and transactions in the consumer goods and services sector."This unprecedented step in the managed end-to-end IT services sector will give the investment community a promising investment option to grow their wealth and contribute to Qatar’s digital economy industry," said Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah al-Thani, Meeza chairman.On the first day of listing, the company's share price was floated. However, as of the second day, price limits will be set at a fluctuation range of 10% upwards and downwards, in line with other listed companies in the market."As we continue to prioritise the growth of the technology sector within our market, Meeza's listing reinforces our commitment to providing investors with a wide array of investment opportunities. This move not only enhances the choices available to investors but also contributes to the further development of our market ecosystem," al-Emadi said.The inclusion of Meeza in the listing companies will undoubtedly contribute to the diversification of investment choices and the deepening of the market's strength, according to him.Ahmad Abdulla al-Muslemani, chief executive officer of Meeza, said its transformation to a publicly listed entity provides an opportunity for the investors to take part in the company’s journey and achievements, as it looks to continue its strong financial performance and revenue growth."This milestone will provide a great opportunity for us to bolster the Company’s already strong capital by increasing its shareholder base, which will support its ambitious growth and development targets," he said.The Meeza IPO was conducted through the 'book building' mechanism, which is used in many global and regional markets to determine the share offering price by relying on qualified investors who have sufficient experience and knowledge and the necessary mechanisms for fair pricing of the security.

Gulf Times
Business
Voluntary carbon market a long term solution for Mena: Nasdaq

Establishing voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) could further help incentivise businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) to think long term, as the region is an ideal staging ground for the growth and maturation of carbon markets, according to Nasdaq."The development and growth of sophisticated capital markets in Mena over the past 20 years means that the region is well-placed to support decarbonisation through channelling capital to carbon projects/initiatives," Nasdaq said in a white paper.Stressing that the opportunity is evident, and the region has made progress toward capitalising on VCM, it highlighted the Egyptian Exchange’s launch of a VCM as part of the COP27 summit.The exchange, which has recently worked with Qatar’s Global Carbon Council to list verified carbon credits, provides issuing Egyptian companies a link to both local and global investors.The objective is to spur investment in climate-mitigation projects, while also improving credit quality, market access and transparency.Capital markets in Mena have evolved greatly, becoming more sophisticated, resilient and reliable. However, various structural obstacles present a challenge to carbon credits growing and maturing as an asset class, according to the report."Overcoming these roadblocks will require stakeholders in the region to work in concert to solve problems at a root level and lay the building blocks for long-term growth," it said.As an area susceptible to climate change impacts, it said the Mena region is an ideal staging ground for the growth and maturation of carbon markets.Entities across the Mena capital markets spectrum must tackle the lack of awareness, standardisation, transparency and regulatory alignment before they can open the door to capital flows and meaningful climate change mitigation, it said."Building a strong infrastructure for developing, verifying, trading, registering and retiring these assets will be essential to those efforts and the realisation of benefits by countries, participants and populaces," the paper said.Opportunities are abound for climate action and investment — but to unlock those benefits, voluntary carbon markets need dependable infrastructure to drive market efficiency, transparency and integrity, it said, adding carbon credits are on the way to becoming an institutionalised financial asset.First introduced as part of the United Nations’ 1997 Kyoto Agreement, they were created to leverage market dynamics in controlling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Today, carbon credits are in wide use.Yet to make the next step towards becoming a fully-fledged asset class, market infrastructure needs to be improved and standardised to support better efficiency, transparency and access for all participants, according to the white paper.

Gulf Times
Business
Meeza starts trading Wednesday on QSE

Meeza, an established end-to-end Managed IT services and solutions provider based in Qatar, will Wednesday start trading on the Qatar Stock Exchange's (QSE) main market.This follows the approvals obtained from the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) and the QSE's board, as well as the completion of all necessary technical, regulatory, and administrative procedures.With the listing of Meeza, the total number of companies listed on the QSE main market will increase to 51.The shares of Meeza will be listed with the symbol "MEZA" in QSE main market under the consumer goods and services sector.The offering price has been set at QR2.17, consisting of a nominal value of QR1 and an issuance premium of QR1.16, along with a listing fee of QR0.01 per share, based on the documents submitted by the company.On the first day of listing, the company’s price will be floated, and from the second day, it will be allowed to fluctuate by 10% up or down, similar to other listed entities in the market.All 648.89mn shares of Meeza will be listed, representing 100% of the total capital of the company.There will be no change in the trading session timing on the first day of listing, and the pre-open phase will commence at the usual time of 9:00am.As many as 324.49mn shares were offered for subscription, representing 50% of the total capital. Some 121.39mn shares were offered for qualified investors who participated in the book-building process, representing 18.71% of the capital, and 203.1mn shares for Qatari individual and corporate investors, representing 31.29% of the company's capital.The founders will retain the remaining percentage of the shares, which amounts to 324.49mn shares, representing 50% of the total capital of the company.The offering of Meeza shares was conducted through the 'book building' mechanism, which was used for the first time in Qatar.The book building mechanism, used in many global and regional markets, determine the share offering price by relying on qualified investors who have sufficient experience and knowledge and the necessary mechanisms for fair pricing of the security.

The Gulf individuals were seen net sellers as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled mere 0.05% lower at 10,454.75 points Tuesday.
Business
QSE edges down marginally on selling pressure in realty, consumer goods and transport counters

The Qatar Stock Exchange edged down marginally on the back of selling pressure, especially in the real estate and consumer goods sectors, a day after it lost heavily on global.text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[68487]**concerns about China’s smaller cut in rates.The Gulf individuals were seen net sellers as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled mere 0.05% lower at 10,454.75 points.More than 55% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 2.12%.The foreign retail investors were seen net profit takers in the main bourse, which was on a rollercoaster ride for most part of the session with the index touching an intraday high of 10,533 points.The domestic institutions’ weakened net buying interests had its influence in the main market, whose capitalisation was down QR0.39bn or 0.06% to QR615.03bn with microcap segments losing the most.The local retail investors’ lower net buying also had its say in the main bourse, which saw a total of 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.05mn changed hands across five deals.The foreign funds continued to be net sellers but with lesser vigour in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index made gains vis-à-vis declines in the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was down 0.05% and All Share Index by 0.02%, while Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) was up 0.03% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The real estate sector index declined 0.8%, consumer goods and services (0.34%), transport (0.12%) and banks and financial services (0.04%); whereas telecom gained 0.71%, insurance (0.43%) and industrials (0.08%).Major losers in the main market included Widam Food, Inma Holding, Medicare Group, Ezdan, Salam International Investment, Qatari German Medical Devices, Al Meera and Mazaya Qatar. In the junior bourse, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatar National Cement, Doha Insurance, Estithmar Holding, Mekdam Holding and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding were among the gainers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The Gulf individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR1.58mn compared with net buyers of QR1.48mn on August 21.The foreign retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR1.06mn against net buyers of QR3.34mn on Monday.The domestic institutions’ net buying decreased significantly to QR3.4mn compared to QR18.91mn the previous day.The local retail investors’ net buying weakened noticeably to QR2.32mn against QR5.27mn on August 21.However, the Gulf institutions were net buyers to the extent of QR2.68mn compared with net sellers of QR2.54mn on Monday.The Arab individual investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.07mn against net sellers of QR4.74mn the previous day.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking decreased substantially to QR6.33mn compared to QR21.72mn on August 21.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the third straight session.Trade volumes in the main market tanked 18% to 126.58mn shares, value by 23% to QR334.67mn and deals by 25% to 14,160.The venture market saw an 87% contraction in trade volumes to 0.2mn equities, 88% in value to QR0.44mn and 83% in transactions to 58.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE launches covered short selling, securities lending and borrowing

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) has launched covered short selling as well as securities lending and borrowing (SLB) activities, as part of its reforms to make the market more liquid and attractive for the investors, especially foreign.The move, which indicates the imminent launch of derivatives, is also aimed at achieving 'developed' market status for the QSE from the present 'emerging' tag.The covered short selling will be allowed solely for market makers, liquidity providers, and qualified investors, including members, and any other cases approved by the Qatar Financial Market Authority or QFMA.The SLB transactions will be executed in the post-trading system of the Edaa (formerly Qatar Central Securities Depository) by its members or custodians licensed by the QFMA to conduct this activity under the designation "Securities Lending & Borrowing Agents."The roles and responsibilities of these agents have been defined under Article (3) of the SLB rules issued by the QFMA.SLB would aid in enhancing the liquidity in the capital market, which in turn would ensure reduced cost of capital and better valuations, market sources said.Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi, the acting chief executive officer of QSE, highlighted the significance of launching this initiative and its role in enhancing market liquidity and introducing new investment tools that will offer investors improved options for optimal investment in the market."Such initiatives are essential for launching the derivatives market and adopting the tradable investment instruments," he said, adding the availability of these tools, alongside other instruments, would contribute primarily to upgrading the Qatari market to advanced status.The covered short selling rules stipulate that transactions can only be executed at a price higher than the last traded price for the same security, where the 'Uptick Rule' will apply to all traders. Brokers will be responsible for ensuring that the covered short selling order is entered into the trading system at a price at least one point higher than the last traded price for that security.Most short selling is done by hedge funds and institutional investors to cushion their positions against falling stock prices.The covered short selling rules aim to enable investors to use different investment strategies in line with the best practices in the financial markets, according to market experts.In September last year, the QFMA had issued rules relating to the covered short selling and SLB in a bid to increase liquidity and volumes as well as expand the investment instruments for the investors.This contributes to increasing trading volumes and liquidity in the market, maximising the returns of stakeholders in the Qatari capital market, as well as broaden the scope of borrowing securities for various purposes.In its Capital Market Report 2020, the Qatar Financial Centre had suggested creating a derivatives market, initially offering single-stock futures contracts, as part of the key recommendations for the country’s capital market development.A derivatives market would add to the breadth of Qatar's capital market, offering investors risk management tool to hedge their investments and business exposure.

Gulf Times
Business
MEEZA to expand data centre capacity in next two-to-three years

MEEZA, which now has a total supply capacity of 24.4MW (megawatts) from operating five data centres, is planning to expand its capacity by 19.5MW over the next two to three years to meet the growing demand in Qatar.The company, which will Wednesday start trading on the Qatar Stock Exchange, is currently the market leader with about 50% market share based on Qatar estimated supply capacity.In the data centre industry, MWs are reserved for wholesale colocation customers that require enough power for thousands of servers and related IT hardware.MEEZA’s demand for data centre-related services is mainly driven by colocation and hosting services as well as IaaS (infrastructure as a service).According to a recent market study commissioned by MEEZA, the demand for colocation and hosting is expected to rise from $129mn in 2022 to $163mn in 2026, while demand for IaaS is expected to significantly grow from $71mn in 2022 to $279mn in 2026, indicating a huge growth potential for MEEZA over the next few years that can be serviced with an adequate expansion in capacity.Out of the total ICT market, the data centre market in Qatar accounts for about 0.12% of the global data centre market in 2022. In line with the current global market trends, the demand for data centres in Qatar is expected to grow by 13.3% per annum from 40 megawatts (MW) in 2022 to 66MW in 2026.Furthermore, total spending demand for Qatar on data centre systems and data centre IT-related services is expected to steadily rise from $0.86bn in 2022 to $1.28bn in 2026.This growth in demand for data centres is expected to be mainly driven by digital business process as a service (BPaaS), data centre services, desktop as a service (DaaS), data centre systems support, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and application managed services.Additionally, cybersecurity is also poised to follow the same growth dynamic, with total demand for cyber security service in Qatar forecasted to grow by 10.6% per annum from $347mn in 2022 to $520mn in 2026.The Qatari data centre space currently features three ICT (information, communication and technology) companies whose data centre colocation capacity is commercially available to third parties as part of their core business. Besides MEEZA, other ICT entities operating data centres in Qatar are Ooredoo and Mannai ICT.Ooredoo operates five data centres covering a total space of 60,000sq ft and its total supply capacity is estimated to be 22MW (46% market share based on Qatar estimated supply capacity, on par with MEEZA), the MEEZA prospectus filed with the QSE said.Mannai ICT – an integrated end-to-end solutions IT company in Qatar providing, among others, servers and storage services, peripheral IT hardware services and integrated IT solutions – currently operates one data centre with an estimated supply capacity of 2MW (4% market share based on Qatar estimated supply capacity).As per the latest Ministry of Communications data, ICT currently contributes to 1.9% of Qatar’s total gross domestic product. Investments in the digital landscape, particularly cloud computing, are at an all-time high as part of efforts to implement Qatar’s digital transformation agenda and construct a knowledge-based economy.

From left: Al-Khulaifi, Sheikh Khalifa and al-Ansari outline the schedule of Made in Qatar 2023. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
‘Made in Qatar expo to hit east Africa’: Qatar Chamber chairman

The country's famed industrial expo 'Made in Qatar' is all set to cross the Gulf Co-operation Council or GCC region to probably east Africa, as part of Qatar Chamber's efforts to better and effectively showcase Doha's manufacturing finesse before the global audience."It could be in Iraq or in country within the eastern African region," Qatar Chamber (QC) chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani told Monday at a media meet convened to announce the schedule of the ninth Made in Qatar exhibition.The expo, which is being organised by the QC, in co-operation with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), will be held here from November 29 to December 2.In support of the QC's move to hold Made in Qatar outside the Gulf region; Sheikh Khalifa said the expo primarily aims at strengthening the national industry sector, support the state’s endeavours for industrial development, promoting the Qatari products both domestically and internationally, and encouraging the utilisation of Qatari-made products, and inspiring investors to increase investment in industrial projects and enhancing the partnership between the public and private sectors.About the expo to be held in Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, the exhibition serves as a large platform that brings together Qatari industries and products, aimed at bolstering the Qatari industry and promoting the local product, boosting co-operation among the Qatari businessman and domestic companies, and facilitating discussions on potential partnerships and alliances that can contribute to the advancement of the local industry.This year’s edition follows the success Qatar achieved in hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, he said, underscoring that the Qatari industry achieved remarkable development and success in recent years."These factors have bolstered the competitiveness and quality of the Qatari product, facilitating its penetration into global markets," Sheikh Khalifa said.The exhibition is expected to feature more than 450 Qatari industrial companies across six sectors, encompassing furniture, food, petrochemicals, services, SMEs, and various industries.The event would also see the participation of over 100 productive families to showcase their products in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and Family.Saleh bin Majed al-Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs at the Ministry ofCommerce and Industry, reassured the ministry's initiatives in supporting exporters and increasing the Qatari exports.He emphasised on the collective efforts in fostering a conducive business environment and motivating companies to establish value-added projects that contribute to the national economy.He also underlined the significance of enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector for enabling the country's manufactured products, which hold economic advantages, to effectively compete both domestically and on the international stage.Abdulrahman al-Ansari, a QC board member and chairperson of the exhibition’s technical committee, said the state has built an advanced infrastructure, which will provide the private sector with opportunities for active contribution to the growth of the domestic production.

The foreign institutions were increasingly net sellers as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 1.11% to 10,459.78 points yesterday
Business
QSE plunges 117 points in index and QR6bn in capitalisation on global concerns

Reflecting the global concerns on China's smaller cut in rates, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Monday plunged 117 points on the back of selling pressure, especially in the.text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[68162]**banks.The foreign institutions were increasingly net sellers as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 1.11% to 10,459.78 points.About 73% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 2.07%.The Arab individuals were increasingly net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw the index touch an intraday high of 10,648 points.The Gulf institutions were seen bearish in the main market, whose capitalisation eroded QR6.04bn or 0.97% to QR615.42bn with small and midcap segments losing the most.The domestic funds’ weakened net buying had its influence in dampening the sentiments in the main bourse, which saw a total of 7,648 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.06mn changed hands across four deals.However, the local and foreign individuals were seen bullish in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining faster than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index fell 1.11%, All Share Index by 0.97% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.21% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the rise.The banks and financial services sector index shot up 1.26%, industrials (0.99%), consumer goods and services (0.91%, transport (0.64%), realty (0.64%) and telecom (0.12%); while insurance gained 0.82%.Major losers in the main market included Qatar National Cement, Qatari German Medical Devices, Ezdan, Masraf Al Rayan, Mazaya Qatar, Alijarah Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Salam International Investment, Mannai Corporation, Baladna, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Gulf International Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Estithmar Holding, Qamco and Milaha. In the junior bourse, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Zad Holding, Qatar Oman Investment, Qatar Insurance, Mekdam Holding and Ahlibank Qatar were among the gainers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The foreign institutions’ net selling increased substantially to QR21.72mn compared to QR9.97mn on August 20.The Arab individual investors’ net selling expanded noticeably to QR4.74mn against QR2.36mn the previous day.The Gulf institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR2.54mn compared with net buyers of QR5.41mn on Sunday.The domestic institutions’ net buying decreased significantly to QR18.91mn against QR34.8mn on August 20.However, the local individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR5.27mn compared with net sellers of QR23.44mn the previous day.The foreign retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR3.34mn against net profit takers of QR2.2mn on Sunday.The Gulf individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR1.48mn compared with sellers of QR2.24mn on August 20.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the third straight session.Trade volumes in the main market were up 9% to 153.51mn shares, value by 33% to QR432.15mn and deals by 78% to 18,875.The venture market saw a 25% contraction in trade volumes to 1.57mn equities and 33% in value to QR3.65mn but on flat transactions at 332.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE closes in positive zone as domestic funds’ net buying strengthens

The Qatar Stock Exchange Sunday opened the week on a stronger note, albeit at lower levels, on the back of buying interests, especially in the telecom and insurance.text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[67723]**sectors. The domestic funds were seen increasingly into net buying as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained more than five points or 0.05% to 10,576.82 points.The foreign institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, whose year-to-date losses truncated to 0.98%.The Arab individuals’ lower net profit booking was also visible in the main bourse, which saw the index touch an intraday high of 10,620 points.The Gulf institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main market, whose capitalisation however gained QR0.12bn or 0.02% to QR621.46bn with microcap segments gaining the most.The local retail investors turned bearish in the main bourse, which saw a total of 9,235 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.05mn changed hands across three deals.The Gulf individuals were net profit takers in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining vis-à-vis gains in the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was up 0.05% and All Share Index by 0.02%, while Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) fell 0.14% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover fell amidst higher volumes.The telecom sector index shot up 1.05%, insurance (0.88%), banks and financial services (0.11%) and consumer goods and services (0.02%); while real estate shed 1.06%, transport (0.74%) and industrials (0.13%).Major gainers in the main market included Beema, Widam Food, Inma Holding, Qatar Islamic Insurance, Qatari German Medical Devices, Commercial Bank, QIIB, Qatar Insurance and Ooredoo.Nevertheless, Al Khaleej Takaful, Alijarah Holding, Dlala, Masraf Al Rayan, Mazaya Qatar, Medicare Group, Qatari Investors Group, Gulf International Services, Qamco and United Development Company were among the losers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The domestic institutions’ net buying increased significantly to QR34.8mn compared to QR2.62mn on August 17.The foreign funds’ net selling declined substantially to QR9.97mn against QR27.01mn the previous trading day.The Arab individual investors’ net selling eased perceptibly to QR2.36mn compared to QR4.34mn last Thursday.However, the local retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR23.44mn against net buyers of QR7.65mn on August 17.The Gulf individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR2.24mn compared with net buyers of QR0.89mn the previous trading day.The foreign retail investors’ net profit booking strengthened markedly to QR2.2mn against QR0.08mn last Thursday.The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened considerably to QR5.41mn compared to QR20.27mn on August 17.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second straight session.Trade volumes in the main market were up 4% to 140.57mn shares, while value shrank 25% to QR325.25mn and deals by 38 to 10,623.The venture market saw a 43% contraction in trade volumes to 2.09mn equities, 35% in value to QR5.39mn and 48% in transactions to 332.

QFZ Authority (QFZ) chief executive officer Sheikh Mohamed H. F. al-Thani
Qatar
QFZs house 400 firms; create 6,000 jobs

The Qatar Free Zones (QFZs) have housed 400 firms to date, with 1mn sqm of land leased, representing more than $3bn in total investment and creating more than 6,000 jobs, its top official has said.In an interview to fDi Intelligence of Financial Times, QFZ Authority (QFZ) chief executive officer Sheikh Mohamed H. F. al-Thani said it is particularly focused on seven strategic sectors as emerging technologies, logistics and trading, food and agritech, industrial and consumer, aerospace and defence, biomedical sciences, and maritime development."These strategic sectors afford us many synergies, as we’re able to support individual companies including Google Cloud, Microsoft, Thales, DHL, Volkswagen and Gaussin, among many others, to achieve their goals, while developing new frontiers for priority sectors in Qatar," he said.He highlighted the longstanding partnership with Google Cloud and the launch of the Google Cloud region in Doha, which aims to support Qatar’s efforts in becoming a digital economy and providing opportunities for other investors in Qatari free zones and across the country.Research conducted by Access Partnership revealed that this ambitious project is expected to drive increased economic activity and contribute $18.9bn in higher gross economic output to Qatar’s economy by 2030.Stressing that each one of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries has something unique to offer investors; Sheikh Mohamed said that’s why it doesn’t view itself as in competition with the neighbours; rather complement each other."That said, we are the right choice for those who are looking for the specific advantages Qatar and QFZ offer: a combination of unparalleled logistics and educational infrastructure, a multicultural environment, vast natural gas reserves, a seamless regulatory experience, grand-scale projects and connectivity to global markets by air, sea and land," according to him.Stressing on its commitment to sustainability, and the ways through which it supported both investors and the country in driving sustainability initiatives, he cited the production of the first electric vehicles in Qatar at the zones, as part of a partnership between zero-emission company Gaussin and QFZA.These vehicles are now in operation at Hamad International Airport and Hamad Port, helping to reduce carbon emissions and accelerate Qatar’s national ambition for electric vehicle adoption in the public transport network and wider mobility sector, he said.Qatar has two free zones up and running. Ras Bufontas (4 sqkm), is connected to Hamad International Airport; and the Umm Al Houl free zone (32 sqkm), which sits next to Hamad Port.