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Thursday, May 23, 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.
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.

Gulf Times
Business
Receding fears of global banking contagion helps QSE gain 1%; M-cap adds QR7bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday gained in excess of 1% on receding fears of global banking contagion, snapping eight consecutive days of bearish spell.The Gulf institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up about 100 points to 9,876.98 points.The market, which was heavily skewed towards gainers, recovered from an intraday low of 9,753 points.The insurance, banking, telecom and real estate counters witnessed higher than demand in the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed to 7.53%.More than 65% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen expanding QR7.06bn or 1.25% to QR571.13bn, mainly on account of large and midcap segments.The Arab retail investors turned bullish in the main market, which saw a total of 2.03mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR4.72mn changed hands across 72 deals.The foreign individual investors were net buyers 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 1.16%, All Share Index by 1.21% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.49% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The insurance sector index shot up 2.83%, banks and financial services (1.74%), telecom (1.45%), realty (1.39%), consumer goods and services (0.98%) and transport (0.59%); while industrials was down 0.05%.Major gainers in the main market included Estithmar Holding, Lesha Bank, Ezdan, Dlala, Gulf International Services, QNB, Commercial Bank, Inma Holding, Salam International Investment, Woqod, Baladna, Qatari Investors Group, Qatar Insurance, Al Khaleej Takaful, Mazaya Qatar and Ooredoo. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.Nevertheless, Beema, Barwa, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, QLM, Zad Holding and Industries Qatar were among the losers in the main market.The Gulf institutions’ net buying increased considerably to QR21.54mn compared to QR11.78mn on March 20.The Arab individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR12.56mn against net sellers of QR2.85mn on Monday.The foreign retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR2.32mn compared with net sellers of QR4.14mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.08mn against net sellers of QR0.66mn on March 20.However, the domestic institutions’ net selling increased noticeably to QR26.98mn compared to QR17.5mn on Monday.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking grew significantly to QR19.59mn against QR7.5mn the previous day.The local retail investors’ net buying declined markedly to QR10.07mn compared to QR20.57mn on March 20.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure against net buyers to the tune of QR0.29mn on Monday.In the main market, trade volumes surged 44% to 178.29mn shares, value by 18% to QR443.36mn and deals by 13% to 18,336.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE listed firms earn QR49.48bn net profit in 2022

The Qatar Stock Exchange listed companies have registered a more than 10% year-on-year growth in overall net profits in 2022, mainly supported by earnings expansion in the telecom, realty and transport sectors.The 50 listed entities have cumulatively reported net profit of QR49.48bn, the bulk of which came from the banking and industrials sectors, which together contributed more than 83% of the cumulative net profits in the review period.The net earnings growth of the listed companies in 2022 considerably slowed against 41.09% the previous year, said the data compiled by the Qatar Stock Exchange.The 2021 results had seen strong rebound of the corporate sector after the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising inflation and interest rates globally and its reflection in the Gulf shores had its share in dampening the net profitability of Qatar's corporate sector during 2022.The banks and financial services sector, which has 13 listed entities, reported a 7.91% year-on-year jump in total net profit to QR26.44bn against a 12.85% expansion (with 12 entities) in 2021. The sector contributed 53.44% to the total net profits of the listed companies in January-December 2022.The industrials sector, which has 10 listed constituents, saw a 9.5% year-on-year increase in net profitability to QR14.76bn against a 252.34% surge year ago. The sector contributed 29.14% to the overall net profitability of the listed entities during 2022.Within the industrials sector, the country’s underlying firms that have direct linkages with the hydrocarbons sectors saw normalisation of their earnings.The realty segment, which has four listed entities, saw total net earnings surge 32.12% year-on-year to QR1.65bn during 2022 against 31.15% shrinkage in 2021. The sector constituted 3.33% to the overall net profitability in the review period.The telecom sector, which has two constituents, reported net profit of QR2.86bn, which was 5.78% of the total net profits during 2022. The sector had seen an about eight-fold increase in net profitability in 2022 compared to 71.46% plunge in 2021.The transport sector, which has three listed constituents, saw total net profits grow 16.88% year-on-year to QR2.69bn against 58.22% jump during 2021. The sector's net profit constituted 5.44% to the total net profit of the listed companies during 2022.However, the insurance sector, which has seven companies, registered a net loss of QR0.79bn during 2022 compared to net profit of QR1.07bn (with six constituents) the previous year, mainly dragged by weakened net earnings of two risk cover providers.The proposed mandatory health insurance and the substantial expansion planned in the North Field are expected to augur well for the insurance sector in the future, according to reports.The consumer goods and services sector, which has 11 listed entities, saw a 1.07% year-on-year dip in total net profit to QR1.86bn at the end of 2022 against 45.12% growth (with 10 entities) the previous year. The sector contributed 3.76% to the overall net profitability in the review period.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE records 130-point plunge as investors weigh risks to global banking system

Apprehensions that rising risks in the global banking sector may cause a recession and cut fuel demand on Monday led a sell-off in the bourses, including Qatar Stock Exchange, which plunged more than 130 points, while capitalisation eroded QR7bn.The banking sector witnessed higher than average net selling pressure as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 1.32% to 9,778.27 points, although UBS agreed to buy the embattled Credit Suisse in stock.The market, which was skewed towards decliners, however touched an intraday higher of 9,952 points.The domestic institutions were increasingly net sellers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 9.45%.More than 61% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was seen eroding QR7.08bn or 1.24% to QR564.07bn, mainly on account of mid and small cap segments.The foreign institutions were seen increasingly into net selling in the main market, which saw a total of 0.02mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.17mn changed hands across 11 deals.The Arab retail investors were increasingly net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index declined slower than the othe4r indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 1.32%, the All Share Index by 1.32% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.88% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The banks and financial services sector index tanked 1.9%, followed by industrials (0.88%), transport (0.77%), real estate (0.65%), consumer goods and services (0.64%) and telecom (0.02%); while insurance gained 0.41%.Major losers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, QLM, Widam Food, Mannai Corporation, Qatari German Medical Devices, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, Industries Qatar, Qamco, Estithmar Holding, Mazaya Qatar and Milaha.Nevertheless, Qatar National Cement, Beema, Qatar Insurance, Gulf International Services and Masraf Al Rayan were among the gainers in the main market.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The domestic institutions’ net selling increased noticeably to QR17.5mn compared to QR14.29mn on March 19.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking grew perceptibly to QR7.5mn against QR6.65mn the previous day.The Arab individuals’ net selling strengthened markedly to QR2.85mn compared to QR0.71mn on Sunday.The Gulf individual investors were net sellers to the tune of QR0.66mn against net buyers of QR0.19mn on March 19.The local retail investors’ net buying declined notably to QR20.57mn compared to QR29.74mn the previous day.However, the Gulf institutions turned net buyers to the extent of QR11.78mn against net sellers of QR1.25mn on Sunday.The Arab institutions were net buyers to the tune of QR0.29mn compared with net sellers of QR0.04mn on March 19.The foreign retail investors’ net profit booking eased remarkably to QR4.14mn against QR7mn the previous day.In the main market, trade volumes surged 11% to 123.41mn shares, value by 40% to QR377.09mn and deals by 66% to 16,259.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE stays flat amidst buying interests in telecom, banks and insurance counters

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Sunday witnessed strong buying interests in the telecom, banks and insurance counters but overall it closed flat.The local retail investors were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled mere 0.01% down to 9,908.69 points, although the previous week was marred by fragile investor sentiments in the global markets, following the US banks’ contagion.The market, which was skewed towards gainers, touched an intraday low of 9,795 points.The Gulf individual investors were seen net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened marginally to 7.23%.Nevertheless, more than 51% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main bourse, whose capitalisation was up QR0.03bn or 0.01% to QR571.15bn, mainly on account of microcap segments.The foreign institutions’ net selling weakened in the main market, which saw a total of 0.21mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.67mn changed hands across 29 deals.However, the domestic funds were seen net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining faster than the main barometer of the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was up 0.09% and All Share Index by 0.13%, while Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) shed 0.62% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The telecom sector soared 1.58%, banks and financial services (0.64%), insurance (0.57%) and real estate (0.06%); while transport declined 1.93%, consumer goods and services (0.55%) and industrials (0.54%).Major shakers in the main market included Milaha, Baladna, Qamco, Al Khaleej Takaful, Woqod and Mekdam Holding.Nevertheless, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Zad Holding, Inma Holding, Dlala, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar Islamic Bank, Doha Bank, Lesha Bank, Mannai Corporation, Qamco, Qatar Insurance, Ooredoo and Nakilat were among the gainers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The domestic funds turned net sellers to the extent of QR14.29mn compared with net buyers of QR12.11mn on March 16.The foreign retail investors’ net selling increased noticeably to QR7mn against QR0.74mn the previous trading day.The Gulf institutions were net profit takers to the tune of QR1.25mn compared with net buyers of QR19.93mn last Thursday.The Arab individuals’ net selling strengthened marginally to QR0.71mn against QR0.57mn on March 16.The Arab institutions turned net sellers to the extent of QR0.04mn compared with net buyers of QR0.05mn the previous trading day.However, the local retail investors’ net buying expanded significantly to QR29.74mn against QR14.54mn last Thursday.The Gulf individual investors were net buyers to the tune of QR0.19mn compared with net sellers of QR0.28mn on March 16.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking decreased substantially to QR6.65mn against QR45.05mn the previous trading day.In the main market, trade volumes tanked 59% to 111.43mn shares, value by 70% to QR269.31mn and deals by 47% to 9,775.

Gulf Times
Business
Fragile global investor sentiments drag QSE as index tanks 200 points; M-cap erodes QR12bn

Reflecting the fragile investor sentiments in the global markets, following the crises in Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse, the Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday plunged more than 200 points as its key index fell below 10,000 points.The foreign institutions were increasingly into net selling as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 2.01% to 9,910.9 points.The market, which was skewed towards decliners, however recovered from an intraday low of 9,813 points.The industrials and insurance counters witnessed higher than average selling pressure in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened further to 7.22%.More than 69% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR12.48bn or 2.14% erosion to QR571.12bn, mainly on account of large cap segments.The foreign, Arab and Gulf individuals turned bearish in the main market, which saw a total of 0.19mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.56mn changed hands across 15 deals.However, the local retail investors were increasingly into net buying in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining slower than the main barometer of the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was down 0.18%, the All Share Index by 0.21% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.72% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The industrials sector index plummeted 2.35%, followed by insurance (2.21%) and realty (1.29%); even as transport gained 2.23%, consumer goods and services (0.6%) and banks and financial services (0.44%). The telecom index was unchanged.Major shakers in the main market included Industries Qatar, Estithmar Holding, Aamal Company, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Gulf Warehousing, Commercial Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatari German Medical Devices, Mannai Corporation, Mekdam Holding, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Gulf International Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Qamco, Qatar Insurance and Ezdan.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Milaha, Woqod, Qatari Investors Group, Widam Food and QNB were among the gainers in the main market.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking increased substantially to QR45.05mn compared to QR27.46mn on March 15.The foreign retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR0.74mn against net buyers of QR0.49mn the previous day.The Arab individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR0.57mn compared with net buyers of QR3.38mn on Wednesday.The Gulf individual investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR0.28mn against net buyers of QR0.14mn on March 15.However, the Gulf institutions’ net buying rose marginally to QR19.93mn compared to QR19.82mn the previous day.The local retail investors’ net buying expanded significantly to QR14.54mn against QR4.76mn on Wednesday.The domestic funds turned net buyers to the extent of QR12.11mn compared with net sellers of QR1.12mn on March 15.The Arab institutions were net buyers to the tune of QR0.05mn against no major net exposure the previous day.In the main market, trade volumes more than tripled to 274.63mn shares and value more than doubled to QR897.67mn on a 29% increase in deals to 18,458.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar industrial production jumps 3.5% month-on-month in January 2023: PSA

Faster extraction of petroleum and natural gas and higher production of refined petroleum products, basic metals and chemicals led Qatar's industrial production index (IPI) to jump 3.5% month-on-month in January 2023, according to the official statistics.However, the country’s IPI witnessed a 3.3% decline on an annualised basis in the review period, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The PSA introduced IPI, a short-term quantitative index that measures the changes in the volume of production of a selected basket of industrial products over a given period with respect to a base period 2013.The mining and quarrying index, which has a relative weight of 82.46%, saw a 4.1% surge on a monthly basis owing to a 4.1% increase in the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas and 1.7% in other mining and quarrying sectors.On a yearly basis, the index tanked 3.3% on account of a 3.4% contraction in the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas, even as other mining and quarrying sectors saw a robust 6.8% expansion in the review period.The manufacturing index, with a relative weight of 15.85%, zoomed 2.4% month-on-month in January 2023 owing to a 3.3% increase in the production of chemicals and chemical products, 3.1% in refined petroleum products, 2.5% in basic metals and 0.6% in printing and reproduction of recorded media.Nevertheless, there was a 9.7% contraction in the production of beverages, 3.3% in cement and other non-metallic mineral products, 2.6% in rubber and plastics products and 0.1% in food products in the review period.On a yearly basis, the manufacturing index grew 3.8% owing to an 18.1% surge in the production of refined petroleum products, 4.8% in chemicals and chemical products and 3.5% in beverages in January 2023.However, there was a 13.4% decline in the production of cement and other non-metallic mineral products, 9.1% in printing and reproduction of recorded media, 4.6% in rubber and plastics products, 0.8% in food products and 0.3% in basic metals.However, Electricity, which has a 1.16% weight in the IPI basket, saw its index plummet 15.6% month-on-month but grew 7.1% year-on-year in January 2023.In the case of water, which has a 0.53% weight, the index saw a 17.6% plunge on monthly basis but was up 2.7% on an annualised basis in the review period.

Qamco, which has outlined QR1.1bn capital expenditure for 2023-27, will focus on its strategic plans to strengthen the market position and diversify into newer markets, aiming at enhanced shareholder value
Business
Qamco outlines QR1.1bn capex for 2023-27, plans entry into newer markets

Qamco, which has outlined QR1.1bn capital expenditure for 2023-27, will focus on its strategic plans to strengthen the market position and diversify into newer markets, aiming at enhanced shareholder value.Qamco's joint venture (Qatar Aluminium or Qatalum) is on track to reduce emissions by certain process optimisation measures, while improving output efficiency.These were disclosed by the Qamco board in a report submitted before shareholders at the general assembly meeting, which yesterday approved all the items on the agenda."Going forward, Qamco’s JV will remain focused on its strategic plans and look forward strengthening its market position and diversifying into newer markets, while relentlessly working towards enhanced shareholder value," its chairman Abdulrahman Ahmad al-Shaibi said.On the planned capex for 2023-27, the board report said it will continue to focus on the programmes with critical importance to improve asset integrity, operational efficiency, reliability, cost optimisation, capacity de-bottlenecking and HSE (health, safety and environment).During 2022, Qamco JV accounted for QR229mn (its share) on capex outlays, which included routine operations, such as pot relining and other maintenance pertaining to power plant and anode plant.The JV continues to reline third generation of pots and replace flue walls to ensure sustainable operations, while minimising the risk for disruption in production.On the sustainability front, the JV continued its journey to limit its carbon footprints by deploying various strategies and programmes and continue to explore opportunities to enhance energy efficiency and conservation measures.Qamco's JV has been successful in maintaining one of the lowest carbon footprints (in terms of carbon dioxide per metric tonnes of aluminium) by using natural gas as its source of energy compared to other types of fuel such as coal and oil.Nevertheless, JV’s carbon footprints are marginally higher than smelters that use renewable energy as hydropower or solar energy.In this regard, JV is working on developing Greenhouse Gases (GHG) reduction strategy, where work is in progress to set medium to long range targets for GHG reduction."The focus of the decarbonisation drive is to meet market expectations for the production of low carbon aluminium and to align with the ‘green’ transition of the international aluminium sector," the report said.

Gulf Times
Business
IQ plans QR11bn capital expenditure for 2023-27

Market heavyweight Industries Qatar (IQ) – the holding entity of Qatar Petrochemicals, Qatar Fertiliser and Qatar Steel – has planned capital expenditure (capex) of QR11bn for 2023-27.A "significant" portion of this spending will be related to the new blue ammonia train, amounting to QR4.4bn, and IQ’s share of capex in the new PVC (polyvinyl chloride) project, amounting to QR121mn.Valued at approximately $1.06bn being fully internally funded, the new train will have a designed capacity of up to 1.2mn tonnes per annum (MTPA) of Blue ammonia, making it the world’s largest facility," HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs and IQ Chairman and Managing Director Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi said in the board of directors report presented during the general assembly.“There is no doubt that this project further add on our expertise in commissioning, operating, and maintaining ammonia plants,” he told shareholders at the meeting, which approved all the items on the agenda.The group will continue to focus on its capex programmes with critical importance to improve asset integrity, operational efficiency, reliability, cost optimisation, capacity de-bottlenecking, and regulatory compliance, according to Abdulla Yaaqob al-Hay, acting manager Privatised Companies Affairs Department, QatarEnergy.In terms of capex over the next five years, Qatar Fertiliser is expected to incur QR9.2bn in various projects, including a new ammonia train. As per the capex plan, QR4.4bn will be spent in relation to the new ammonia train. In addition, other expenditures will include maintenance related shutdowns.The EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the new Ammonia-7 train was awarded to a consortium of ThyssenKrupp and Consolidated Contractors Company. The new train is intended to be operational by the first quarter of 2026.The fertiliser segment spent QR729mn in capex in 2022. This includes initial capex relating to the new blue ammonia train (QR35mn).About Qatar Petrochemicals, it said in terms of capex over the next five years, the segment is slated to spend QR1.3bn on various projects. As per the capex plan, QR440mn will be spent in relation to the new PVC project in form of capex.As per the Principles Agreement, the total capex outlay relating to the new PVC plant will be shared between IQ and Mesaieed Petrochemical Company in a ratio of 44.8% and 55.2%, respectively; equivalent to their share in Qatar Vinyl Company based on a new joint venture agreement.The segment had seen capex of QR371mn in 2022, primarily related to maintenance-related expenditures, routine fixed asset additions, and HSE improvements. This also includes IQ’s share of QR7mn towards capex on the new PVC project.Qatar Steel is expected to incur QR0.5bn in capex in 2023-27 in various projects including asset replacements, HSE and reliability improvements.The segment incurred a capex of QR62mn in 2022, primarily related to routine property, plant and equipment additions.

Gulf Times
Business
Lower food, restaurant prices drag Qatar's inflation month-on-month in February: PSA

Qatar's inflation, based on consumer price index (CPI), was down 0.06% month-on-month in February 2023, mainly dragged by lower food and restaurant prices, according to the official estimates.However, the country's CPI inflation was higher by 4.41% on an annualised basis this February, said the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The country's core inflation (excluding housing and utilities) rather rose 0.09% and 3.37% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively during the review period."The average inflation will ease substantially this year to 2.3%, less than half the average pace of 5% in 2022," said the latest Economic Insight report for the Middle East, commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales or ICAEW and compiled by Oxford Economics.The restaurants and hotels group, with a 6.61% weight, saw its index shrink 2.12% on a monthly basis but shot up 4.45% year-on-year in February 2023, the PSA said.Food and beverages group, which carry 13.45% weight in the CPI basket, became cheaper by 1.45% and 1.29% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in February 2023.The index of clothing and footwear, which has a 5.58% weight in the CPI basket, declined 0.8% month-on-month but gained 0.7% on a yearly basis in February 2023.The index of housing, water, electricity and other fuels – with a weight of 21.17% in the CPI basket – was down 0.62% month-on-month but showed an 8.94% growth year-on-year in February 2023.The index of miscellaneous goods and services, with a 5.65% weight, was down 0.28% and 0.23% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in the review period.However, the index of recreation and culture, which has an 11.13% weight in the CPI basket, was seen gaining 3.75% and 20.8% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in February 2023.The index of transport, which has a 14.59% weight, grew 0.24% and 2.38% on monthly and yearly basis respectively in February 2023.The sector has the direct linkage to the dismantling of the administered prices in petrol and diesel as part of the government measures to lower the subsidies.The index of furniture and household equipment, which has 7.88% weight in the CPI basket, was up 0.11% month-on-month but fell 0.04% on an annualised basis this February.Communication, which carries a 5.23% weight, saw its group index tread a flat path month-on-month but shrank 4.84% year-on-year in the review period.The education sector, which has 7.33% in the CPI basket, saw its index was unchanged on a monthly basis but shot up 4.26% year-on-year this February.The index of health, which has a 2.65% weight, was flat month-on-month but expanded 1.62% year-on-year in February 2023.The tobacco index, which has a 0.28% weight, was unchanged on yearly and monthly basis in the review period.

Gulf Times
Business
Global banking woes drag QSE 102 points; M-cap erodes QR4bn

Global banking woes continued to dampen sentiments in the Qatar Stock Exchange, which on Wednesday lost more than 102 points and its key index settled below 10,200 levels.Reflecting the concerns in Credit Suisse, after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 1% to 10113.73 points.The market, which was skewed towards decliners, however touched an intraday high of 10,300 points.The domestic institutions were seen squaring off their position in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened further to 5.31%.The real estate sector saw higher than average selling pressure in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR4.47bn or 0.76% erosion to QR583.6bn, mainly on account of small and microcap segments.About 66% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market, which saw a total of 0.3mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.82mn changed hands across 18 deals.The foreign retail investors’ weakened net buying had its influence in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining faster than the main barometer of the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shrank 0.5%, All Share Index by 0.44% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.25% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The realty index plummeted 1.02%, consumer goods and services (0.92%), banks and financial services (0.51%), industrials (0.35%) and telecom (0.07%); while transport gained 0.14% and insurance (0.09%).Major shakers in the main market included Qatar Electricity and Water, QIIB, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Doha Bank, Qatar Oman Investment, Inma Holding, Qatari German Medical Devices, Woqod, Qatar National Cement, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Qamco, Mazaya Qatar and Milaha.Nevertheless, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Nakilat, Al Khaleej Takaful, Zad Holding and Vodafone Qatar were among the gainers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The domestic funds turned net sellers to the tune of QR1.12mn compared with net buyers of QR65.19mn on March 14.The foreign retail investors’ net buying declined noticeably to QR0.49mn against QR5.16mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying eased perceptibly to QR0.14mn compared to QR1.55mn on Tuesday.However, the Gulf institutions were net buyers to the extent of QR19.82mn compared with net sellers of QR1.05mn on March 14.The local retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR4.76mn against net sellers of QR4.18mn the previous day.The Arab individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR3.38mn compared with net sellers of QR13.46mn on Tuesday.The foreign institutions’ net profit booking decreased substantially to QR27.46mn against QR53.23mn on March 14.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure compared with net buyers to the tune of QR0.01mn the previous day.The main market saw a 16% fall in trade volumes to 94.2mn shares, 16% in value to QR371.35mn and 13% in deals to 14,623.

Hanadi Khalife, head of Middle East, ICAEW.
Business
Qatar's non-oil investments help its economy remain resilient: ICAEW

With the World Cup economic boom starting to ease, Qatar's economic growth will be affected but higher investments in non-hydrocarbons will help it remain resilient this year, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has said.According to the first quarter or Q1 report, Qatar’s expansion will be led by the non-oil sector this year, though the pace of activity will nearly halve to 3.3%, from over 6% in 2022."With the economic boom from the World Cup starting to slow down, GDP (gross domestic product) growth will be affected. However, continuing to increase investment in the non-oil sectors and doubling down on reforms will help Qatar remain resilient this year and reach the goals charted in its National Vision 2030,” said Hanadi Khalife, Head of Middle East, ICAEW.Scott Livermore, ICAEW economic advisor, and chief economist and managing director, Oxford Economics Middle East, said though much of the activity last year was linked to the World Cup, the preparations for the event contributed to medium-term diversification goals through strong gains in construction and real estate, transportation, and financial services."These gains will slow in the coming year, and some areas of the economy, such as accommodation and food services, may see a dip in the near term. However, we think the ongoing expansion of gas capacity and the pipeline of planned projects, will draw foreign direct investment (FDI) and support non-oil activity," he said.Further reforms will also play a role in attracting FDI as Qatar keeps up with the growing competition in the region, according to him.The latest Economic Insight report for the Middle East, commissioned by ICAEW and compiled by Oxford Economics, revealed that Qatar’s economic growth is strong while it still enjoys a boost from the World Cup in 2022.Qatar’s growth likely exceeded 4% in 2022, marking the fastest pace since 2015 and leaving the economy the largest it has ever been. However, the 2023 GDP growth forecast is still unchanged at 2.7%.Although energy prices are easing from 2022 levels, they will "remain elevated", supportingQatar’s macroeconomic environment, the report said.Due to higher prices in main export commodities, Qatar enjoyed one of the largest terms-of-trade improvements in 2022, with recent data showing the trade surplus widening to QR355.2bn last year.As oil and gas prices remain above levels from early 2022, the external position will only deteriorate marginally this year, with the current account surplus at 15.6% of GDP, down from 17.1% in 2022.Expecting public spending to remain "supportive" of growth in 2023; it said high commodity prices underpinned a 54% year-on-year rise in budget revenue in 2022, pushing Qatar’s budget surplus to QR89bn, the largest since 2014.Qatar’s 2023 budget, based on a reduction in spending and an oil price of $65 per barrel, projects a surplus of QR29bn, equivalent to 3.4% of GDP.Forecasting Brent at $86 per barrel in 2023, which is "significantly" above the budgeted price; the report said on that basis, a modest rise in spending and a surplus of QR82bn (9.7% of GDP) is expected.

Gulf Times
Business
Fears of SVB global contagion drag QSE 192 points

The fears of global contagion of Silicon Valley Bank continued its toll in the global bourses, including the Qatar Stock Exchange, which on Tuesday plunged 192 points and capitalisation eroded in excess of QR11bn.An across the board selling, especially in real estate and telecom, dragged the 20-stock Qatar Index 1.85% to 10,216.03 points.The market, which was skewed towards decliners, however touched an intraday high of 10,395 points.The foreign institutions were increasingly squaring off their position in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened further to 4.35%.The Arab retail investors turned net profit takers in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR11.49bn or 1.92% erosion to QR588.07bn, mainly on account of mid and large cap segments.More than 80% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market, which saw a total of 0.23mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.73mn changed hands across 24 deals.The Gulf institutions continued to be net sellers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining slower than the main barometer of the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shrank 1.61%, All Share Index by 1.65% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.71% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover fell amidst higher volumes.The realty index plummeted 3.05%, telecom (2.13%), banks and financial services (1.76%), insurance (1.59%), transport (1.37%) and consumer goods and services (0.74%).Major shakers in the main market included Al Meera, Inma Holding, Gulf International Services, Nakilat, Estithmar Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, QNB, Masraf Al Rayan, Lesha Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Widam Food, Industries Qatar, Qamco, Qatar Insurance, Ezdan and United Development Company. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Doha Insurance, Aamal Company, Milaha, Woqod and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing were among the gainers in the main market.The foreign institutions’ net selling increased substantially to QR53.23mn compared to QR11.18mn on March 13.The Arab retail investors were net sellers to the tune of QR13.46mn against net buyers of QR4.03mn on Monday.However, the domestic funds’ net buying expanded significantly to QR65.19mn compared to QR36.14mn the previous day.The foreign retail investors turned net buyers to the extent of QR5.16mn against net sellers of QR1.02mn on March 13.The Gulf individual investors were net buyers to the tune of QR1.55mn compared with net sellers of QR2.26mn on Monday.The Arab institutions were also net buyers to the tune of QR0.01mn against no major net exposure the previous day.The local retail investors’ net selling weakened drastically to QR4.18mn compared to QR21.99mn on March 13.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking shrank perceptibly to QR1.05mn against QR4.17mn on Monday.The main market saw a 16% fall in trade volumes to 112.48mn shares and less than 1% in value to QR443.73mn but on 11% growth in deals to 16,807.

Doha Bank board of directors addressing shareholders at the AGM. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
Doha Bank’s capital adequacy to remain strong; eyes revenue optimisation and cost reduction

Doha Bank's capital adequacy is slated to remain strong in the short term to medium term given the credit growth projections, without further capital raising and its focus will continue to be revenue optimisation and cost reduction as part of its future plans.This was disclosed by the bank at an investor presentation provided at the annual general assembly meeting, where shareholders approved all the items on the agenda.In support of its "strong" current capital position, the bank highlighted that CET1 (common equity Tier 1) stood at 8.50%; Tier1 at 10.50%; total CAR at 12.50%; ICAAP (Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process) at 1%; and management buffer at 0.50%.With a view to strengthening the lending capacity and improving the competitive edge and prospects for achieving the strategic goals, Doha Bank during the past years focused on enhancing its Tier 1 capital base and CAR through the issuance of Tier 1 capital instruments amounting to QR2bn in each issuance (total of QR4bn) qualifying as additional Tier 1 capital for Doha Bank in Qatar as per the terms and requirements of Qatar Central Bank.Risk and capital management will also remain one of the core attention areas for bank, especially in view of the impact of geopolitical, macroeconomic and other global changes.Factoring in the rapid evolution to technological landscape, "Doha Bank is considering automation, digitisation, and innovation at the heart of its strategy," its chairman Sheikh Fahad bin Mohamed bin Jabor al-Thani said in the board of directors report presented at the meeting.The bank would continue embracing emerging technologies to build customer-centric solutions, he said."As the financial services industry stands at an inflection point, and several disruptive forces such as digitisation, competitive pressure, and fast evolving regulations are enforcing a bigger change; Doha Bank remains fully committed towards its customers, shareholders, people, and larger society," he said.Highlighting the rise of digital transactions, an investor presentation report made at the general assembly said 90% of all cash transactions are performed through ATMs bulk cash deposit machines and ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines).The bank witnessed "significant" growth in E-Commerce as the online payment gateway (OPG) number of transactions increased 71% on an annualised basis in 2022.Moreover, the lender witnessed local fund transfers improve from 75% to 78% and international fund transfer improve from 44% to 55% year-on-year in 2022.Sheikh Fahad said the bank enhanced and strengthened its financial position; and achieved an impressive return on average shareholders’ equity and average assets.