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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 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.
The number of ships calling on Qatar's three ports stood at 231 in March, which was 6.94% and 11.59% higher year-on-year and month-on-month respectively, according to by Mwani Qatar.
Business
Hamad Port sees highest ever breakbulk volume handled in March 2023

Hamad Port registered the highest ever volume of breakbulk handled in March 2023; while cargo and livestock throughput at Qatar's three major ports zoomed 98% and 451% year-on-year, according to the official figures.The three ports - Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais - displayed robust performance in terms of ship arrivals and throughput both on yearly and monthly basis respectively in the review period as well as in the first three months of this year, according to figures released by Mwani Qatar.The number of ships calling on Qatar's three ports stood at 231 this March, which was 6.94% and 11.59% higher year-on-year and month-on-month, respectively.Hamad Port, which offers opportunities to create cargo movement towards the upper Gulf, supporting countries such as Kuwait and Iraq and south towards Oman – saw as many as 135 vessels call on the port in the review period.As many as 664 ships had called on three ports in the first three months of this year, recording a 1.07% on an annualised basis.The general cargo handled through the three ports was 297,009 tonnes in March 2023, which showed 98.64% and 43.44% gains on yearly and monthly basis respectively in the review period.Hamad Port – whose multi-use terminal is designed to serve the supply chains for the RORO (vehicles), grains and livestock – handled 291,427 freight tonnes of breakbulk in March this year."The volume of breakbulk is the highest ever handled in Hamad Port," QTerminals said in a tweet.On a cumulative basis, the general cargo movement through the three ports shot up 29.5% year-on-year to total 617,641 tonnes during January-March 2023.The three ports handled 53,193 livestock heads in March 2023, which zoomed 451% on a yearly basis but was down 6.14% month-on-month. The three ports together handled 151,907 livestock in the first three months of this year, registering a 161.6% increase on an annualised basis.The three ports handled 7,007 RORO in March 2023, which registered a 15.61% and 23.69% jump year-on-year and month-on-month respectively. Hamad Port alone handled 6,964 units in March 2023.The three ports together handled as many as 18,380 vehicles during January-March2023, reporting a 9.5% expansion year-on-year.The container handling through three ports stood at 114,079 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), which fell 8.23% and 1.87% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in March 2023.Hamad Port, which is the largest eco-friendly project in the region and internationally recognised as one of the largest green ports in the world, saw 114,262 TEUs of containers handled in the review period.The container handling through the three ports stood at 341,955 TEUs during January-March 2023, which showed a 4.06% contraction on an annualised basis.The container terminals have been designed to address the increasing trade volume, enhancing ease of doing business as well as supporting the achievement of economic diversification, which is one of the most important goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.The building materials traffic through the three ports stood at 50,969 tonnes in March 2023, which tanked 21.63% year-on-year but shot up 77.22% month-on-month in the review period.A total of 134,637 tonnes of building materials had been handled by these ports in January-February 2023, thus registering 16.68% shrinkage on a yearly basis.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE tanks 120 points as foreign funds turn bearish

The Qatar Stock Exchange Sunday plunged 120 points and its key index settled below 10,100 levels, mainly dragged by the consumer goods, banks and transport sectors.The foreign institutions were seen increasingly into net selling as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 1.17% to 10,092.64 points, although Gulf markets largely remained in the black as the US inflation data fueled hopes of an end to rate hike.The market, which was skewed towards shakers, had touched an intraday high of 10,292 points.The Gulf individuals were increasingly bearish in the main market, whose year-to-date losses increased to 5.51%.More than 53% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation eroded QR6.93bn or 1.17% to QR585.56bn, mainly on account of small and microcap segments.The Gulf institutions turned net profit takers in the main market, which saw a total of 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.08mn changed hands across six deals.The foreign retail investors were net sellers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining faster than then other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 1.17%, All Share Index by 1.28% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.02% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The consumer goods and services sector index plummeted 2.3%, banks and financial services (1.77%), transport (1.35%), industrials (0.68%) and real estate (0.6%); while telecom and insurance gained 1.24% and 1.07% respectively.Major losers in the main market included Zad Holding, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Masraf Al Rayan, Vodafone Qatar, Gulf Warehousing, QNB, Qatar Electricity and Water, Industries Qatar, Estithmar Holding, Barwa and Nakilat.Nevertheless, Qatar Islamic Insurance, Qatar Insurance, Ooredoo, United Development Company, Qatari German Medical Devices and Lesha Bank were among the gainers in the main market.The foreign institutions’ net selling increased considerably to QR37.03mn compared to QR20.5mn on March 30.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling rose perceptibly to QR1.88mn against QR1.31mn the previous trading day.The Gulf institutions turned net profit takers to the tune of QR1.57mn compared with net buyers of QR3.4mn last Thursday.The foreign retail investors were net sellers to extent of QR0.08mn against net buyers of QR5.12mn on March 30.The domestic institutions’ net buying declined noticeably to QR16.1mn compared to QR24.26mn the previous trading day.However, the local retail investors’ net buying strengthened substantially to QR25.8mn against QR9.37mn last Thursday.The Arab individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.59mn compared with net sellers of QR4.62mn on March 30.The Arab institutions’ net profit booking shrank drastically to QR2.95mn against QR15.74mn the previous trading day.In the main market, trade volumes fell 27% to 131.36mn shares, value by 33% to QR360.92mn and deals by 45% to 11,141.

The mining PPI decreased 3.6% month-on-month this February as the average selling price of crude petroleum and natural gas declined 3.6%, even as that of stone, sand, and clay was up 0.02%.
Business
Qatar PPI shrinks in February: PSA

Qatar's producers' price index (PPI), which captures the price pressure felt by the producers of goods and services, shrank 7.32% year-on-year in February 2023, according to official estimates.The decline in the country's PPI on an annualised basis has been on account of the hydrocarbons and certain manufacturing businesses such as chemicals and basic metals, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).Qatar's PPI was seen dropping 3.42% on a monthly basis this February.The PSA had released a new PPI series in late 2015. With a base of 2013, it draws on an updated sampling frame and new weights. The previous sampling frame dates from 2006, when the Qatari economy was much smaller than today and the range of products made domestically much narrower.The mining PPI, which carries the maximum weight of 82.46%, reported a 5.47% shrinkage year-on-year in February 2023 as the average selling price of crude petroleum and natural gas was seen plummeting 5.47% and other mining and quarrying by 2.42%.The mining PPI decreased 3.6% month-on-month this February as the average selling price of crude petroleum and natural gas declined 3.6%, even as that of stone, sand, and clay was up 0.02%.The manufacturing sector PPI, which has a weight of 15.85% in the basket, tanked 17.15% on a yearly basis in February 2023 due to a 25.19% plunge in the average price of chemicals and chemical-related products, 11.93% in basic metals and 1.07% in refined petroleum products.Nevertheless, there was a 13.2% increase in the printing and reproduction of recorded media, 6.1% in food products, 2.2% in rubber and plastics products, 1.31% in beverages, and 0.74% in cement and other non-metallic mineral products.The manufacturing PPI plunged 3.23% month-on-month year in February on account of a 5.35% slump in the average price of basic metals, 5.28% in refined petroleum products, 3% in chemicals and chemical-related products, and 2.25% in rubber and plastics products.However, there was a marginal 0.45% increase in the average price of cement and other non-metallic mineral products, 0.34% in beverages, and 0.14% in food products.The index of electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply reported a 5.15% and 3.71% increase on a yearly and monthly basis respectively this February.The index of water supply was seen expanding 6.84% and 7.27% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in February 2023.

Gulf Times
Business
Easing global banking crisis enhances confidence as QSE soars 206 points; M-cap swells QR12bn

The easing global banking crisis led the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) to register a huge 206 points gain in key index and capitalisation to expand QR12bn this week.The consumer goods, real estate, transport, and banking counters register higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up 2.06% this week which saw Fitch, a global credit rating agency, upgrades the outlook on Qatar's long-term issuer default rating.The domestic funds were bullish this week, which saw Fitch state that Qatar's debt-to-gross domestic product ratio will decline substantially this year and in 2024.About 74% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main market this week, which saw Qatar's trade surplus jump 2.9% on yearly basis in February 2023.The foreign retail investors also turned net buyers this week which saw KPMG, a global entity, view that Qatar banks had the lowest cost-to-income and highest provision coverage among the Gulf peers.The local retail investors continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main market this week, which saw Nakilat's shareholders approve the board recommendation to up the foreign ownership limit up to 100%.The Islamic index was seen outperforming the other indices in the main market this week which saw a total of 0.4mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.94mn trade across 24 deals.Trade turnover and volumes were on the increase 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 22 transactions.Market capitalisation was seen gaining QR12.09bn or 2.08% to QR592.49bn on the back of large and midcap segments this week which saw the industrials and banking sectors together constitute more than 62% of the total trade volume in the main market.The Total Return Index gained 2.06%, the All Share Index by 1.97%, and the All Islamic Index by 2.41% this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The consumer goods and services sector index zoomed 4.15%, realty (3.17%), transport (2.97%), banks and financial services (2.17%), telecom (1.52%) and industrials (0.6%); while insurance was flat this week which saw no trading of treasury bills.Major gainers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Masraf Al Rayan, Dukhan Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Dlala, Doha Bank, Lesha Bank, Salam International Investment, Woqod, Mannai Corporation, Baladna, Gulf International Services, Estithmar Holding, Qamco, QLM, Barwa, Mazaya Qatar, United Development Company, Nakilat and Vodafone Qatar this week which saw Wasata Financial Services sign pact to undertake market making for Masraf Al Rayan.Nevertheless, Mekdam Holding, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Milaha, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, and Medicare Group were among the losers in the main market this week.The domestic institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR74.81mn against net sellers of QR27.98mn the week ended March 23.The foreign individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR8.61mn against net sellers of QR13.96mn a week ago.The Gulf individuals' net selling eased marginally to QR1.25mn compared to QR1.63mn the previous week.However, the foreign funds' net profit booking grew markedly to QR86.29mn against QR74.17mna the week ended March 23.The Arab individuals turned net sellers to the tune of QR23.45mn compared with net buyers of QR2.64mn a week ago.The Arab funds' net selling expanded substantially to QR20.84mn against QR0.28mn the previous week.The Gulf institutions' net buying shrank drastically to QR6.68mn compared to QR70.62mn the week ended March 23.The local retail investors' net buying fell perceptibly to QR41.74mn against QR44.76mn a week ago.Total trade volume in the main market increased 35% to 986.23mn shares, value by 23% to QR2.53bn, and deals by 10% to 87,671.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE treads flat course despite Arab funds’ strong selling pressure

The Qatar Stock Exchange Thursday treaded a flat path despite strong selling pressure at the telecom, transport and insurance counters.The Arab institutions were seen increasingly into net profit booking as the 20-stock Qatar Index stood at 10,212.61 points.The market, which was heavily skewed towards shakers, had touched an intraday high of 10,277 points.The Gulf individuals were seen bearish in the main market, whose year-to-date losses increased marginally to 4.39%.About 62% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen eroding QR1.58bn or 0.27% to QR592.49bn, mainly on account of microcap segments.The domestic institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, which saw a total of 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Doha Bank) valued at QR0.06mn changed hands across three deals.The Gulf funds’ lower net selling interests had its say in weakening the overall sentiments in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining faster than then other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was down 0.01%, the All Share Index by 0.09% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.18% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The telecom sector index tanked 2.33%, transport (1.34%), insurance (1.06%) and industrials (0.26%); while consumer goods and services gained 1.32%, realty (0.45%) and banks and financial services (0.14%).Major losers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Medicare Group, Ooredoo, Milaha, Inma Holding and Aamal Company.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatari German Medical Devices, Dlala, Estithmar Holding, Masraf Al Rayan, Woqod, United Development Company and Gulf Warehousing were among the gainers in the main market.The Arab institutions’ net profit booking increased substantially to QR15.74mn compared to QR3.08mn on March 29.The Gulf individual investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR1.31mn against net buyers of QR0.21mn the previous day.The domestic institutions’ net buying declined noticeably to QR24.26mn compared to QR30.87mn on Wednesday.The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened perceptibly to QR3.4mn against QR9.3mn on March 29.The foreign retail investors’ net buying eased markedly to QR5.12mn compared to QR6.06mn the previous day.However, the local retail investors turned net buyers to the extent of QR9.37mn against net profit takers of QR0.22mn on Wednesday.The foreign institutions’ net selling decreased considerably ton QR20.5mn compared to QR32.08mn on March 29.The Arab individuals’ net profit booking weakened notably to QR4.62mn against QR11.09mn the previous day.In the main market, trade volumes fell 21% to 180.08mn shares, value by 17% to QR534.79mn and deals by 4% to 20,280.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE index rejig to see Vodafone replace QIC in main barometer from April 2

With Qatar Stock Exchange’s (QSE) semi-annual index review becoming effective from next week, Vodafone Qatar will replace Qatar Insurance in the main barometer QE Index.The review will also see Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company removed from the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index.Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance will join QE All Share Index and QE Insurance Index; while Ahli Bank will be removed from QE All Share Index and QE Banks and Financial services Index.Under the index practices, a review is carried out twice a year to ensure that the selection and weighting of the constituents continues to reflect the purpose of the index.The other constituents of the main barometer will remain QNB, Industries Qatar, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Woqod, QIIB, Nakilat, Ooredoo, Qatar Electricity and Water, Milaha, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Barwa, Qamco, Doha Bank, Gulf International Services, Baladna, Estithmar Holding and Ezdan.All listed companies are ranked by giving free float market capitalisation with a 50% weight and average daily value traded also 50% weight. Companies with velocity less than 5% are excluded from the review, as are entities whereby a single shareholder can only own less than 1% of outstanding shares.Any qualifying component exceeding 15% weight in the index as of market close March 28, 2023 will have its weight capped at the 15% level and excess weight allocated to remaining stocks proportionately.The index free-float for a stock is total outstanding shares minus shares directly owned by government and its affiliates, those held by founders and board members and shareholdings above 10% or greater of the total outstanding (except those held by those held by pension funds in the country).The other constituents of the Al Rayan Islamic Index are Industries Qatar, Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Woqod, QIIB, Ooredoo, Milaha, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Qatar Electricity and Water, Barwa, Qamco, Vodafone Qatar, United Development Company, Baladna, Estithmar Holding, Ezdan, Qatari Investors Group, Al Meera Consumer Goods, Medicare Group, Qatar National Cement and Gulf Warehousing.The bourse has seven sectors: Banks and financial services (with 13 constituents), insurance (seven), industrials (10), real estate (four), telecom (two), transportation (three) and consumer goods and services (11) in the ‘All Share Index’.

Gulf Times
Business
Foreign funds’ net selling drags QSE as index falls 95 points

The foreign funds’ net profit booking pressure on Wednesday dragged the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) about 95 points but overall its key index stood above 10,200 levels.The industrials and banking counters witnessed higher than average selling as the 20-stock Qatar Index shrank 0.92% to 10,213.34 points.The market, which was heavily skewed towards shakers, had touched an intraday high of 10,387 points.The Arab individuals were seen bearish in the main market, whose year-to-date losses increased to 4.38%.More than 65% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen eroding QR5.85bn or 0.98% to QR594.07bn, mainly on account of mid and microcap segments.The Arab institutions turned net profit takers in the main market, which saw a total of 0.1mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.33mn changed hands across 14 deals.However, the domestic funds were increasingly into net buying in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining slower than then other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 0.92%, the All Share Index by 0.88% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.71% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the rise.The industrials sector index shrank 1.29%, banks and financial services (1.17%), consumer goods and services (0.55%), insurance (0.44%) and real estate (0.14%); while telecom and transport gained 0.95% and 0.69% respectively.Major losers included Mannai Corporation, Mekdam Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Lesha Bank, Dukhan Bank, Salam International Investment, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Industries Qatar, Qamco and Ezdan.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, QLM, Masraf Al Rayan, Estithmar Holding, Vodafone Qatar, Inma Holding, Qatar National Cement and Nakilat were among the gainers in the main market.The foreign institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR32.08mn against net buyers of QR10.65mn on March 28.The Arab individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR11.09mn compared with net buyers of QR2.19mn the previous day.The Arab institutions turned net profit takers to the tune of QR3.08mn against no major net exposure on Tuesday.However, the domestic funds were net buyers to the extent of QR30.87mn compared with net sellers of QR7.58nmn on March 28.The Gulf institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR9.3mn against net sellers of QR1.31mn the previous day.The foreign retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR6.06mn compared with net sellers of QR4.55mn on Tuesday.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying increased marginally to QR0.21mn against QR0.17mn on March 28.The local retail investors’ net profit booking declined considerably to QR0.22mn compared to QR14.74mn the previous day.In the main market, trade volumes grew 12% to 228.35mn shares, value by 21% to QR642.08mn and deals by 14% to 21,225.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Qatar's debt to decline in 2024 and 2025: Fitch

Qatar's debt/GDP (gross domestic product) ratio is expected to significantly decline and the subsequent debt path will depend on how the government chooses to deploy its fiscal surpluses, according to Fitch, a global credit rating agency."We project debt/GDP to fall to about 45% of GDP in 2023 and 42% in 2024, from a peak at 85% in 2020. This reflects our expectation that the government will continue to repay maturing external debt in 2023 ($7.5bn) and 2024 ($4.8bn) and to gradually pay down some of its domestic debt" it said in a report.Large surpluses would still allow Qatar to transfer new funds to the Qatar Investment Authority, it said.Fitch said the subsequent debt path would depend on how the government chooses to deploy its fiscal surpluses."The persistence of a high global bond yield environment could encourage Qatar to continue to allocate a share of its surpluses to deleveraging beyond 2024, although our baseline assumes that external debt is rolled over," it said. The country's debt metrics include government overdrafts with local banks (QR61bn at end-2022), which the sovereign does not include in its headline figure.The rating agency estimates that Qatar's economy-wide net external debt position declined to13% of GDP at end-2022, reflecting the rise in nominal GDP and the reduction in banks' foreign liabilities, from about 30% at end-2021.Fitch estimates the debt of non-bank government-related entities (GRE) at over 40% of GDP. The biggest GRE borrowers are Qatar Airways, QatarEnergy and Ooredoo, together accounting for over a third of Qatar's GRE debt.Qatar Airways posted a profit in the financial year ending March 2022 (FY22) after receiving a $3bn equity injection from its shareholder (the Qatar Investment Authority) in FY21.

A view of the Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar's principal site for the production of liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids (file). The additional LNG export capacity that will be brought online as a result of the North Field expansion will bring down Qatar's already low fiscal breakeven hydrocarbon price, according to Fitch.
Business
Fitch upgrades outlook on Qatar's long-term issuer default rating to 'positive'

Global credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded the outlook on Qatar's long term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) to "positive" from "stable" and affirmed the IDR at 'AA-'.The revision of the outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that the debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) will remain in line with or below the 'AA' peer median, while Qatar's external balance sheet will strengthen from an already strong level.The additional LNG (liquefied natural gas) export capacity that will be brought online as a result of the North Field expansion will bring down Qatar's already low fiscal breakeven hydrocarbon price, it said.Qatar's 'AA-' ratings are supported by large sovereign net foreign assets, one of the world's highest ratios of GDP per capita and a flexible public finance structure.Qatar's general government budget surplus is estimated at about 10% of GDP in 2023 (2022: 13% of GDP), including estimated investment income on Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) external assets, and about 8% without.Oil and gas revenue is assumed to fall by 14% as the Brent oil price will average $85/bbl in 2023 (2022: 98.6).However, the end of 2022 Football World Cup outlays, less spending on large projects and restrained current spending trends will allow Qatar to maintain budget surpluses until 2025, despite lower hydrocarbon prices."We project the first phase of the North Field expansion to start supporting fiscal revenue fully from 2026 and second phase in 2027, assuming no construction delays, and to bring down Qatar's fiscal breakeven oil price below $50 from around $57-58 in 2023-24, excluding estimated QIA investment income," it said.The government is likely to find new spending outlays aimed at diversifying the economy, but "we expect Qatar to retain surpluses under our long-term oil price forecast of $53 at 2025 prices."QatarEnergy plans to expand LNG production capacity from 77mn tonnes per year (mtpa) to 110mtpa by end-2025 and to 126mtpa by end-2027."We assume that QatarEnergy will cover $12.5bn of core project costs out of its 2021 bond issuance and a similar amount from its cash flow, spread until 2028, on top of contributions by partners," it said.The energy behemoth will also cover a significant share of the costs of the ancillary projects associated with the expansion. It owns 70% of the Golden Pass LNG project (16mtpa) in Texas which will start production in 2024, bringing new revenue to the budget through QatarEnergy dividends.

Imports in February
Business
Qatar records QR22.92bn trade surplus in February: PSA

Faster expansion in the exports of petroleum gases led Qatar's trade surplus to jump 2.9% year-on-year to QR22.92bn in February 2023, according to the official data.Qatar's exports were almost four times its imports, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The country's total exports (valued free on board) amounted to QR31.03bn, while the total imports (cost, insurance, and freight) were QR8.1bn in the review period.However, the trade surplus shrank 5.7% month-on-month in February 2023.Asia/South East Asia constituted a majority of Qatar's exports in January 2023; while imports came from variegated sources.The country's total exports of goods (including exports of goods of domestic origin and re-exports) showed 2.2% and 8.7% contraction year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in the review period.In February this year, Qatar's shipments to China amounted to QR6.05bn or 19.5% of the total exports of the country, followed by South Korea QR5.04bn (16.3%), India QR3.97bn (12.8%), Japan QR3.37bn (10.9%) and Singapore QR2.26bn (7.3%).On a yearly basis, Qatar's exports to Japan plummeted 36.39% and China by 14.4%; whereas those to Singapore shot up 70.95%, South Korea by 35.59% and India by 21.92% in February 2023.On a monthly basis, Qatar's exports to Singapore declined 4.32%, China by 3.53%, India by 0.75% and Japan by 0.36%; while those to South Korea zoomed 39.65% in the review period.The exports of petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons grew 3.7% on an annualised basis to QR19.63bn; while those of non-crude by 18.5% to QR2.45bn, crude by 11.9% to QR4.8bn and other commodities by 9.3% to QR3.26bn in February 2023.On a monthly basis, the exports of other non-specified commodities expanded 10%; while those of non-crude tanked 22.8%, petroleum gases by 11% and crude by 3.2% this February.Petroleum gases constituted 65.13% of the exports of total domestic products in February 2023 compared to 61.13% a year ago; followed by crude 15.93% (17.59%), non-crude 8.13% (9.68%) and other commodities 10.81% (11.59%).Qatar's total imports were seen declining 14.3% and 16.4% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in February 2023.The country's imports from China stood at QR1.26bn, which accounted for 15.6% of the total imports; followed by the US at QR1.06bn (13.1%), India at QR0.56bn (6.9%), Germany at QR0.52bn (6.4%) and Italy at QR0.44bn (5.4%), at the end of February 2023.On a yearly basis, Qatar's imports from Italy plunged 36.34%, China by 24.58% and India by 15.17%; while those from Germany and the US increased 21.93% and 12.66% respectively in the review period.On a monthly basis, the country's imports from Italy shrank 55.21%, China by 17.71%, Germany by 5.14% and India by 4.44%; whereas those from the US grew 0.76% in February 2023.In February 2023, the "Turbojets, turbo-propellers, and Other Gas Turbines; Parts Thereof" was at the top of the imported group of commodities, valued at QR0.6bn, showing an increase of 39.5% year-on-year.In the second place was "Motor Cars & Other Motor Vehicles for The Transport of Persons” with QR0.29bn, which however showed a decrease of 40.1% on a yearly basis in February 2023.In third place was “Electrical Apparatus for Line Telephony/Telegraphy, Telephone Sets Etc.; Parts Thereof” with QR0.27bn, registering an increase of 19.7% on annualised basis.

Gulf Times
Business
Consolidation drive in GCC banks to continue this year: KPMG

The GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) banks will continue to pursue consolidation this year as they seek to remain competitive and relevant in the marketplace, according to KPMG, a multinational professional services network, and one of the Big Four accounting organisations.In 2022, several GCC countries experienced mergers, both in the conventional and Islamic banking sector thus creating larger, stronger and more resilient financial institutions, KPMG said in its eighth edition of the GCC listed banks’ results."We expect that this consolidation drive will continue in 2023 across the region," it said.Highlighting that the Gulf banks tend to adopt "cautious and selective" lending; the report said going forward, they would focus on government, high end customers, and collateralised lending to continue a sustained growth in the lending portfolio."This will enable banks to manage their provision coverage levels, while providing a stable return on capital," it said.With a "cautious and selective" approach to lending, KPMG expects NPLs (non-performing loans) to remain at the current levels in 2023."Banks will look to closely manage their non-performing portfolios through sales, write offs, and proactive credit risk management," it said.Cautioning that with the rising global interest rate environment, pressure will be created on funding costs and in turn on NIMs (net interest margins), the report said: "We do not expect the full impact of the rate hikes to be passed on to customers, although repricing will help somewhat mitigate the impact."Airing cautious optimism, KPMG said with the Covid-19 pandemic behind, it expects that the GCC banking sector would continue to build on its strong foundation supported by a robust economic environment."While banks have emerged resilient in the face of economic challenges, accelerated innovation plans, technology focus and continued government investment will see further growth going forward," the report said.KPMG expects the Gulf banks' cost and operational efficiencies to remain "high" on the management agenda as banks are likely to look at more innovative ways in which costs can be managed through collaboration with fintech players and the adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence."We expect banks to continue to aggressively pursue technological transformation and further explore the use of digital platforms to make banking more accessible to customers, while implementing robotics, artificial intelligence and other innovative ways to efficiently manage customers’ banking needs," the report said.The regulators would continue to enhance their oversight on the banking sector with enhanced reporting, driven by global developments and the increased use of technology, it said.The implementation of Basel IV regulations, increased focus on Anti Money Laundering (AML), Financial Crime, and Know Your Customer (eKYC), Cybersecurity, Open Banking, Tax, and Digital Currencies, amongst other areas, would be the focus in the year ahead, according to KPMG.Stressing that environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters will continue to gain further prominence in 2023; it said stock exchanges and central banks are likely to drive this agenda as they look to mandate some form of common ESG reporting across the banking sector."ESG will not only be a focus for banks but for all stakeholders including investors and customers," it said.

Gulf Times
Business
Easing global banking crisis help QSE surge 207 points; M-cap adds QR11bn

Reflecting the easing of global banking crisis, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Tuesday gained more than 207 points and its key index surpassed 10,300 levels and capitalisation gained in excess of QR11bn.An across the board demand, especially in the industrials and transport counters, led the 20-stock Qatar Index vault 2.05% to 10,308.23 points.The market, which was heavily skewed towards gainers, had recovered from an intraday low of 10,123 points.The foreign funds were seen bullish in the main market, whose year-to-date losses truncated to 3.49%.About 96% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen adding QR11.36bn or 1.93% to QR599.92n, mainly on account of mid and small cap segments.The Gulf retail investors were increasingly net buyers in the main market, which saw a total of 0.18mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.49mn changed hands across 16 deals.The Arab individuals turned net buyers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen gaining faster than then other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index gained 2.05%, All Share Index by 1.88% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 2.18% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the rise.The industrials sector index shot up 2.61%, transport (.221%), banks and financial services (1.74%), consumer goods and services (1.51%), real estate (1.33%), insurance (1.17%) and telecom (0.98%).Major gainers included Mannai Corporation, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Beema, Inma Holding, Masraf Al Rayan, Industries Qatar, Qamco and Nakilat. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatari German Medical Devices and Commercial Bank were losing sheen in the main market.The foreign institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR10.65mn compared with net sellers of QR35.62mn on March 27.The Arab individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR2.19mn against net sellers of QR2.53mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying expanded marginally to QR0.17mn compared to QR0.05mn on Monday.The Gulf institutions’ net selling weakened noticeably to QR1.31mn against QR6.05mn on March 27.However, the local retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR14.74mn compared with net buyers of QR12.39mn the previous day.The foreign retail investors were net sellers to the extent of QR4.55mn against net buyers of QR5.95mn on Monday.The domestic funds’ net buying shrank substantially to QR7.58nmn compared to QR27.1mn on March 27.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure against net profit takers to the extent of QR1.26mn the previous day.In the main market, trade volumes grew 3% to 203.52mn shares, value by 12% to QR531.74mn and deals by 11% to 18,596.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE surpasses 10,100 levels as domestic funds turn net buyers; M-cap adds QR9bn

An across the board buying – especially in the telecom, banks, insurance and consumer goods – on Sunday lifted the Qatar Stock Exchange by 120 points and its key index surpassed 10,100 levels.The domestic institutions were seen net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index soared 1.2% to 10,126.18 points.The market, which was skewed towards gainers, was seen recovering from intraday low of 9,979 points.The foreign funds’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed further to 5.2%.A three-fourth of the traded constituents extended gains in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen expanding QR8.94bn or 1.54% to QR589.34n, mainly on account of large and midcap segments.The Gulf individuals’ lower net selling pressure also had its role in the main market, which saw a total of 0.05mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.17mn changed hands across eight deals.However, the domestic funds turned net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 1.2%, All Share Index by 1.34% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.99% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover fell amidst higher volumes.The telecom sector index shot up 2.09%, banks and financial services (1.86%), insurance (1.59%), consumer goods and services (1.4%), real estate (0.82%) and industrials (0.37%); while transport was down 0.04%.Major gainers in the main market included Beema, Estithmar Holding, Lesha Bank, Dlala, Ezdan, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Dukhan Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Salam International Investment, Baladna, Qamco, Qatar Insurance, Al Khaleej Takaful, Mazaya Qatar and Ooredoo.Nevertheless, QLM, Medicare Group, Inma Holding, Aamal Company, Masraf Al Rayan and Industries Qatar were among the losers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The local retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR34.94mn compared with net sellers of QR11.41mn on March 23.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking shrank noticeably to QR8.74mn against QR19.39mn the previous trading day.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling declined perceptibly to QR0.41mn compared to QR1.16mn last Thursday.However, the domestic institutions were net sellers to the extent of QR15mn against net buyers of QR31.71mn on March 23.The Arab individuals’ net selling strengthened notably to QR7.4mn compared to QR4.1mn the previous trading day.The foreign retail investors’ net profit booking expanded markedly to QR3.98mn against QR0.59mn the last Thursday.The Arab institutions’ net selling increased marginally to QR0.77mn compared to QR0.33mn on March 23.The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened considerably to QR1.35mn against QR5.28mn the previous trading day.In the main market, trade volumes grew 26% to 177.27mn shares, while value shrank 19% to QR346.93mn and deals by 30% to 10,796.

The QCB's gold reserves stood at QR20.66bn at the end of January 2023, which showed a whopping 73.76% growth year-on-year in the review period. It constituted more than 7% of the QCB's assets and about 12% of the total official reserve in January 2023.
Business
QCB gold reserves expansion outpaces growth in international reserves, total assets in January

The Qatar Central Bank's (QCB) gold reserves expanded much faster than its total official international reserves on an annualised basis in January 2023, according to the central bank data.The central bank's gold reserves stood at QR20.66bn at the end of January 2023, which showed a whopping 73.76% growth year-on-year in the review period. It constituted more than 7% of the QCB's assets and about 12% of the total official reserve in January 2023. The gold reserve was at its ebb in February 2022 when it was at QR11.34bn.Between January 2022 and January 2023, the gold reserves saw increase as many as in nine months with the largest expansion registered at 22.05% in July 2022.Gold plays an important part in central banks' reserves management, and they are significant holders of gold.According to the World Gold Council, the yellow metal has been an essential component in the financial reserves of nations for centuries, and its appeal is showing no sign of diminishing, with central banks set to be net purchasers of gold once again this year.The QCB’s total assets were seen expanding 4.41% year-on-year to QR287.48bn, mainly strengthened by higher gold reserves and foreign securities, which together constituted about 55% of the total assets.The foreign securities were seen expanding 19.37% year-on-year to QR138.67bn or 48% of the total in January 2023.The central bank's balances with local banks amounted to QR58.14bn or 20% of the total assets; and other assets were valued at QR53.22bn (19%) in January 2023.The balances with local banks were seen declining 23.45% on an annualised basis in January 2023.The balances with foreign banks amounted to QR11.14bn, which plummeted 42.72% year-on-year in January 2023. The QCB's other assets grew 15.65% year-on-year in the review period.The central bank's total official reserves amounted to QR175.78bn, which reported a 14.89% increased on an annualised basis in January 2023.The QCB's special drawing rights holding and its International Monetary Fund reserve position totalled QR5.32bn at the end of January 2023 compared to QR5.49bn the previous year.The central bank's other liquid assets in foreign currency (deposits) amounted to QR57.97bn in January 2023, which registered a 1.49% growth on an annualised basis.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE gains 1%; M-cap expands QR9bn as investors discount US banking contagion

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) gained almost 1% this week, which saw global investors discount apprehensions on the US banking crisis.The telecom, insurance, industrials, consumer goods and real estate counters saw higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up 96 points this week which saw the Qatar Central Bank hike key rates by 25 basis points in view of the US Federal Reserve raising the reference rates by 25 basis points.The Gulf institutions were seen increasingly bullish this week, which saw the country witness a cumulative 4.5% hike in interest rates in 15 months.About 66% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main market this week, which saw the listed companies report cumulative net profit of QR49.48bn in 2022.The local retail investors were seen net buyers this week which saw Aamal Company wins QR40mn contract for Ashghal project.The Arab retail investors turned net buyers in the main market this week, which saw Nakilat and HSD Engine sign a long-term engine maintenance and service contract.The foreign institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market this week which saw Barwa outline a multi-axes strategic plan for enhancing free cash flows.The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the main barometer in the main market this week which saw a total of 2.67mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange traded fund QATR worth QR6.06mn trade across 100 deals.Trade turnover shrank amidst higher volumes in the main market this week, which saw as many as 0.08mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange traded fund QETF valued at QR0.77mn change hands across 46 transactions.Market capitalisation was seen expanding QR9.28bn or 1.62% to QR580.4bn on the back of mid and small cap segments this week which saw the industrials and banking sectors together constitute about 68% of the total trade volume in the main market.The Total Return Index gained 1.23%, All Share Index by 1.29% and All Islamic Index by 0.11% this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The telecom sector index shot up 5.24%, insurance (4.22%), industrials (2.15%), consumer goods and services (1.43%), real estate (1.31%) and banks and financial services (0.97%); while transport declined 2.63% this week which saw no trading of treasury bills.Major gainers in the main market included Estithmar Holding, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Inma Holding, Zad Holding, Gulf International Services, QIIB, Masraf Al Rayan, Lesha Bank, Dukhan Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Industries Qatar, Ezdan, Qatar Insurance, Mazaya Qatar, Ooredoo and Gulf Warehousing. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value this week.Nevertheless, QLM, Qamco, Milaha, Barwa, Baladna, Medicare Group, Mannai Corporation, Widam Food, Qatari Investors Group and Beema were among the shakers in the main market this week.The Gulf institutions’ net buying expanded substantially to QR70.62mn compared to QR37.31mn the week ended March 16.The local retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR44.76mn against net sellers of QR3.71mn the previous week.The Arab individual investors were net buyers to the extent of QR2.64mn compared with net sellers of QR18.24mn a week ago.The foreign funds’ net selling declined significantly to QR74.17mn against QR125.2mn the week ended March 16.However, the domestic institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR27.98mn compared with net buyers of QR103.06mn the previous week.The foreign retail investors were net sellers to the extent of QR13.96mn against net buyers of QR8.29mn a week ago.The Gulf individuals’ net profit booking rose marginally to QR1.63mn compared to QR1.57mn the week ended March 16.The Arab funds were net sellers to the tune of QR0.28mn against net buyers of QR0.06mn the previous week.Total trade volume in the main market was up 2% to 730.69mn shares, while value shrank 14% to QR2.06bn amidst 8% jump in deals to 79,546.

The QCB on Wednesday increased the repo rate, deposit and lending rates by 25 basis points after the US Federal Reserve hiked its reference rate by 25 basis points.
Business
Qatar sees 4.5% hike in interest rates in 15 months

With the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) raising the key rates by 25 basis points, the country has seen a cumulative 4.5% hike in rates since January 2022 in view of the fixed exchange parity with the US dollar.The QCB on Wednesday increased the repo rate, deposit and lending rates by 25 basis points after the US Federal Reserve hiked its reference rate by 25 basis points.The repo rate in Qatar has increased by a cumulative 4.5% or 450 bps from the beginning of 2022. Since January 2022, QCB repo rate has risen from 1% to 1.25% in March, then to 1.75% in May, 2.5% in June, 3.25% in July, 4% in September, 4.75% in November, 5.25% in December and the latest 5.5%. In 2021, the average repo rate was 1%.The central bank’s move (in increasing repo rate) has been necessitated by the fixed exchange parity with the greenback; otherwise higher-yielding dollar-based investments could put downward pressure on the local currency, market sources said, adding it may lead funds flow to bank deposits with higher returns and lower risk.The QCB lending rate has cumulatively increased by 3.25% or 325bps from the beginning of 2022. It was seen jumping from 2.5% in January to 2.75% in May, 3.25% in June, 3.75% in July, 4.5% in September, 5% in November, 5.5% in December and the latest 5.75% in March. The average lending rate in 2021 was 2.5%.On credit facilities, the interest rate (weighted average) on loans less than one year was seen increasing to 6.25% in January 2023 against 3.8% in January 2022; on loans from one to three years to 6.58% (3.39%); on loans of three years and above to 6.72% (4.11%).Similarly, the QCB deposit rate has cumulatively jumped by 4.25% or 425bps, increasing from 1% in January 2022 to 1.5% in May, 2.25% in June, 3% in July, 3.75% in September, 4.5% in November, 5% in December 2022 and 5.25% in March 2023. The average deposit rate stood at 1% in 2021.In terms of customer deposits, time deposits of one-month was seen surging to 4.43% in January 2023 compared to 1.32% in January 2022; three-month deposits to 5.03% (1.41%); six-month deposits to 5.11% (1.55%); one-year to 3.24% (1.89%) and more than one year to 3.78% (1.88%).The weighted average overnight interbank interest rate (on riyal) stood at 4.97% in January 2023 compared to 0.28% in January 2022.The overnight rates noticeably shot up from July 2022 since it was much less than 1% in January-June 2022. In July, it was 1.68% from when it began zooming to 2.62% in August, 2.61% in September, 3.7% in October, 4.31% in November, 4.68% in December and 4.97% in January 2023.

Under the new QSE index practices, a review is carried out twice a year to ensure that the selection and weighting of the constituents continues to reflect the purpose of the index.
Business
QSE breaches 10,000 level on domestic funds’ buying support

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Thursday gained more than 26 points to cross the 10,000 levels, mainly led by industrials, telecom and banking sectors.The domestic institutions were seen net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.26% to 10,006.2 points.The market, which was skewed towards gainers, was seen recovering from intraday low of 9,899 points.The foreign funds’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed further to 6.32%.More than 51% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen expanding QR2.52bn or 0.44% to QR580.4bn, mainly on account of small and microcap segments.The foreign individuals’ lower net selling pressure had its role in the main market, which saw a total of 0.06mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.19mn changed hands across eight deals.However, local retail investors were increasingly net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.26%, the All Share Index by 0.29% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.18% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The industrials sector grew 0.64%, telecom (0.43%), banks and financial services (0.34%) and consumer goods and services (0.04%); while insurance declined 0.88%, transport (0.36%) and real estate (0.12%).Major gainers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Qatari German Medical Devices, Estithmar Holding, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Widam food, Dukhan Bank, Qatar Electricity and Water and Ezdan.Nevertheless, Dlala, QLM, Gulf Warehousing, Gulf International Services and Qatar Insurance were among the losers in the main market.The domestic institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR31.71mn against net sellers of QR0.92mn on March 22.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking eased perceptibly to QR109.39mn compared to QR21.04mn on Wednesday.The foreign retail investors’ net selling weakened noticeably to QR0.59mn against QR4.56mn the previous day.However, the local retail investors’ net selling expanded markedly to QR11.41mn compared to QR4.19mn on March 22.The Arab individuals’ net profit booking strengthened considerably to QR4.1mn against QR2.27mn on Wednesday.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling expanded notably to QR1.16mn compared to QR0.09mn the previous day.The Arab institutions’ net profit booking increased marginally to QR0.33mn against QR0.2mn on March 22.The Gulf institutions’ net buying declined drastically to QR5.28mn compared to QR33.27mn on Wednesday.In the main market, trade volumes shrank 20% to 140.78mn shares, value by 21% to QR428.04mn and deals by 22% to 15,370.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE surges towards 10,000 levels ahead of the US Fed meeting

Ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting, the global bourses, including the Qatar Stock Exchange were on an upward trajectory for the second straight session and its key index gained more than 103 points to inch towards 10,000 levels.The Gulf institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up 1.04% to 9,980.02 points, reflecting the sentiments on renewed assurances from the US sovereign support amidst the banking crisis.The market, which was skewed towards gainers, had touched an intraday high of 10,013 points.The industrials, telecom, consumer goods and insurance counters witnessed higher than demand in the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed further to 6.56%.About 69% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen expanding QR6.75bn or 1.18% to QR577.88bn, mainly on account of midcap segments.The domestic institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, which saw a total of 0.42mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR1.08mn changed hands across 26 deals.However, the foreign funds were increasingly net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 1.04%, All Share Index by 0.99% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.95% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover grew amidst lower volumes.The industrials sector shot up 3.01%, telecom (1.71%), consumer goods and services (1.6%), insurance (1.25%), real estate (0.64%) and banks and financial services (0.17%); while transport shrank 0.18%.Major gainers in the main market included Estithmar Holding, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Zad Holding, Industries Qatar, Inma Holding, Dukhan Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Gulf International Services, QLM, Qatar Insurance, Mazaya Qatar and Ooredoo.Nevertheless, Qatar Investors Group, Dlala, Lesha Bank, Commercial Bank and Qatar National Cement were among the losers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The Gulf institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR33.27mn compared to QR21.54mn on March 21.The domestic institutions’ net selling decreased significantly to QR0.92mn against QR26.98mn the previous day.However, the foreign institutions’ net profit booking grew notably to QR21.04mn compared to QR19.59mn on Tuesday.The foreign retail investors were net sellers to the tune of QR4.56mn against net buyers of QR2.32mn on March 21.The local retail investors turned net sellers to the extent of QR4.19mn compared with net buyers of QR10.07mn the previous day.The Arab individuals were net profit takers to the tune of QR2.27mn against net buyers of QR12.56mn on Tuesday.The Arab institutions turned net sellers to the extent of QR0.2mn compared with no major net exposure on March 21.The Gulf individual investors were net profit takers to the tune of QR0.09mn against net buyers of QR0.08mn the previous day.In the main market, trade volumes were down about 1% to 176.78mn shares, whereas value surged 23% to QR545.01mn and deals by 8% to 19,806.