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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal, a postgraduate in Econometrics with an advance qualification in Capital Markets and Financial Services, is Gulf Times' journalist. His coverage areas are debt and equity, hydrocarbons, international trade, environment, banks, insurance and real estate. Previously, he was in New Delhi, India as Senior Finance Correspondent of PTI.
Gulf Times
Business
SVB global contagion weighs on QSE as index tanks 164 points

Reflecting the global contagion of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the Qatar Stock Exchange on Monday saw its key index plummet more than 164 points and capitalisation erode QR10bn.A higher than average selling pressure, particularly at the banking counter, led the 20-stock Qatar Index to plunge 1.49% to 10,408.42 points.The market, which was skewed towards decliners, however touched an intraday high of 10,577 points.The local retail investors were seen bearish in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 2.55%.The foreign institutions turned net profit takers in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR9.69bn or 1.59% erosion to QR599.56bn, mainly on account of mid and small cap segments.The Gulf funds were also seen bearish in the main market, which saw a total of 0.07mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.63mn changed hands across 38 deals.The Gulf retail investors were increasingly into net selling in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining slower than the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shrank 1.17%, the All Share Index by 1.24% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.13% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the rise.The banks and financial services sector index tanked 2.17%, real estate (0.6%), consumer goods and services (0.53%), insurance (0.34%), transport (0.25%) and industrials (0.01%); while telecom was up 0.01%.About 66% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market with major shakers being Beema, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Mazaya Qatar, QNB, Lesha Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Widam Food, Ezdan and Nakilat.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Al Meera, Baladna, Vodafone Qatar, Medicare Group and Mekdam Holding were among the gainers in the main market.The local retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR21.99mn against net buyers of QR2.7mn on March 12.The foreign institutions were net sellers to the extent of QR11.18mn compared with net buyers of QR11.72mn on Sunday.The Gulf institutions turned net profit takers to the tune of QR4.17mn against net buyers of QR2.78mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling increased noticeably to QR2.26mn compared to QR0.72mn on March 12.The foreign retail investors were net sellers to the extent of QR1.02mn against net buyers of QR4.4mn on Sunday.However, the domestic funds turned net buyers to the tune of QR36.14mn compared with net sellers of QR9.26mn the previous day.The Arab retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR4.03mn against net profit takers of QR11.63mn on March 12.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second straight session.The main market saw a 37% jump in trade volumes to 134.16mn shares, 76% in value to QR444mn and 82% in deals to 15,137.

Gulf Times
Business
Building permits issued at national level decline year-on-year in February; but Doha, Umm Slal and Al Rayyan defy trend: PSA

Doha and Umm Slal municipalities witnessed double-digit growth year-on-year in building permits, even as at the national level, the permits issued were on the decline this February, according to official estimates.Qatar saw as many as 644 building permits issued in February 2023, which declined 7.6% on an annualised basis in the review period, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority.Al Rayyan, Doha and Al Wakra municipalities together constituted 70% of the total building permit issued in February 2023.The building permits data is of particular importance as it is considered an indicator for the performance of the construction sector which in turn occupies a significant position in the national economy.On an annualised basis, total building permits issued in Doha surged 13.4%, Umm Slal (12%) and Al Rayyan (6.8%); whereas those in Al Shamal tanked 50%, Al Shahaniya (41.2%), Al Wakra (23%), Al Daayen (18.5%) and Al Khor (12.1%).Of the total number of new building permits issued, Al Rayyan constituted 156 permits or 24% of the total, followed by Doha 135 (21%), Al Wakra 127 (20%), Al Daayen 123 (19%), Umm Slal 56 56 (9%), Al Khor 29 (5%), Al Shahaniya 10 (2%) and Al Shamal eight (1%).On a monthly basis, total building permits issued in the country declined 11% with Al Shahaniya reporting a 68% plunge, Al Shamal (53%), Al Khor (34%), Al Wakra (21%), Al Rayyan (13%) and Doha (4%); even as those in Umm Slal and Al Daayen increased 47% and 11% respectively in the review period.The new building permits (residential and non-residential) constituted 251 permits or 39% of the total issued in February 2023, followed by additions 366 (57%) and fencing 27 (4%).Of the new residential buildings permits, villas topped the list, accounting for 82% or 164 permits, apartments 11% (22), and dwellings of housing loans 4% (seven).Among the non-residential sector, commercial structures accounted for 47% or 24 permits, the industrial buildings as workshops and factories 29% (15 permits) and mosques 16% (eight permits).Qatar saw a total of 343 building completion certificates issued in February 2023, of which 268 or 78% was for the new buildings (residential and non-residential) and 75 or 22% for additions.On an annualised basis, total building completion certificates issued in the country saw 1.2% fall with Al Shamal reporting 75% decline, Doha (16.2%), Al Wakra (8.8%) and Al Rayyan (8.1%); while those in Al Shahaniya saw 166.7% surge, Umm Slal (52.6%) and Al Daayen (31.4%) in the review period.Qatar saw an 11% month-on-month contraction in the total building completion certificates issued in February 2023 with Al Shamal registering a 40% decline, Doha (30%), Al Rayyan (23%) and Al Daayen (17%); while Al Khor saw 143% growth, Umm Slal (21%), Al Shahaniya (14%) and Al Wakra (5%).Al Wakra constituted 83 or 24% of the total number of building completion certificates issued in the review period, Al Rayyan 23% or 79, Al Daayen 20% or 67, Doha 17% or 57, Umm Slal 8% or 29, Al Khor 5% or 17, Al Shahaniya 2% or eight and Al Shamal 1% or three in February 2023.Of the 210 residential buildings completion certificates issued, as many as 181 or 86% were for villas, 11 or 5% for dwellings of housing loans and nine or 4% for apartments.Of the 181 villas completion certificates issued in February 2023, as many as 51 were in Al Rayyan, 42 in Al Daayen, 36 in Al Wakra, 20 each in Doha and Umm Slal, eight in Al Khor and two each in Al Shamal and Al Shahaniya.In the case of nine apartments, Doha issued five completion certificates and one each in Umm Slal, Al Rayyan, Al Daayen and Al Khor.

Nakilat has achieved sustainable and long-term growth over the past year, demonstrating its commitment to innovative sustainability and operational excellence
Business
LNG fleet expansion helps Nakilat eye robust growth in global markets

Nakilat, whose liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers account for about 10% of the global LNG carrying capacity, has said its greater fleet capacity and increased operational efficiency provide it with a "competitive" edge as its expands its international shipping portfolio through the recent strategic expansion of Nakilat’s fleet with an additional four LNG carriers, and the improved performance of its joint ventures and support services operating in the shipyard,Nakilat has achieved sustainable and long-term growth over the past year, demonstrating its commitment to innovative sustainability and operational excellence, its chairman Abdulaziz al-Muftah told shareholders yesterday at the annual general assembly meeting, which approved the 2022 results and 13% dividend."This commitment has provided Nakilat with a greater fleet capacity and increased operational efficiency, providing us with a competitive edge in the LNG shipping sector, as the company expands its international shipping portfolio," he said.With a fleet strength of 74 vessels – one of the largest LNG shipping fleets in the world, Nakilat’s portfolio comprises 69 LNG carriers, four liquefied petroleum gas carriers and one floating storage regasification unit – the company is backbone of the transportation link in Qatar’s LNG supply chain, according to him."Our LNG fleet has a combined carrying capacity of over 9mn cubic metres, which is about 10% of the global LNG fleet carrying capacity," he said, adding the majority of Nakilat’s vessels are fixed with long-term charters to reputable counterparties, creating a "steady and healthy" cash flow for the company.Nakilat followed through its expansion plans with the delivery of “Global Sealine”, a technologically advanced LNG carrier new-build during 2022, demonstrating commitment to innovation, sustainability, and operational excellence."This allowed Nakilat to provide greater fleet capacity and flexibility to its customers and gave the company a significant competitive advantage in the energy transportation sector," al-Muftah said, adding this also contributed towards the company’s efforts at reducing its carbon footprint and operating sustainably apace growing its international shipping portfolio.He said the company’s resilience and the convergent efforts have enabled its sustained growth momentum and business continuity, creating immense value for both its customers and shareholders.With a solid sense of direction from the company’s long-term expansion strategy and opportunities that re-emphasised its importance in achieving its targets, Nakilat has been smoothly sailing towards making significant contributions and notable accomplishments during 2022, al-Muftah said in the latest board report.Supported by its Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard, Nakilat’s joint venture companies continue adding strategic value to its operations through dedicated services, including ship repair, offshore fabrication, as well as a range of maritime services, all of which contribute towards establishing Qatar as a shipping and maritime hub, in support of the Qatar National Vision 2030, according to him.

MPHC board members address shareholders at the AGM. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Business
MPHC capex at QR1.8bn for 2023-27; PVC plant to be completed by 2025

Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding (MPHC) has earmarked a total capital expenditure (capex) of QR1.8bn for 2023-27 as part of efforts to enhance capacity."Going forward, the group will continue to consider capex investments to enhance capacity, reliability, efficiency and HSE performance, with a total budgeted outlay of QR1.8bn over a period of five years from 2023 till 2027," said its board report, presented at the general assembly, which approved net profit and dividend for 2022.Addressing the shareholders, MPHC chairman Ahmad Saif al-Sulaiti said the capex includes MPHC’s share in the new PVC (polyvinyl chloride) project funding.MPHC has already given the go-ahead to the Qatar Vinyl Company (QVC) to construct a PVC facility with a production capacity of 350,000 metric tonnes.On segment-wise capex, the report said the petrochemicals are expected to spend QR1.1bn on various projects, including turnarounds and dock jetty enhancement.Other projects will include, but are not limited to, operations (HSE, plant reliability, and integrity) and maintenance shutdowns."These projects will improve facilities’ operational integrity, reliability and output, and reduce emissions while ensuring regulatory compliance, and will lead to improved operating cash flows via added efficiencies," it said.In 2022, the segmental capex incurred was QR249mn. Q-Chem’s turnaround accounted for about 55% of the current year’s capex, with two additional projects accounting for most of the remaining spending.These projects include the Q-Chem sixth furnace project and the Q-Chem dock jetty enhancement.The sixth furnace project is currently in the commissioning phase and ensures sustainable production volumes while ensuring a more consistent consumption of allocated ethane volumes."The project is progressing as planned, and the furnace will be operational during the first quarter of 2023. The total cost incurred till date on the project amounted to QR89.7mn," it said.Highlighting that the dock jetty enhancement project is a combination of restoration and enhancement, the report said it is a critical element of infrastructure currently available and would support the segment for the foreseeable future.The chlor-alkali segment is expected to spend QR709mn on various projects.As per the capex plan, QR543mn will be spent in relation to the new PVC plant, whose construction is expected to be completed by mid-2025."The project is value accretive to MPHC and the national industrial sector. MPHC will be funding the construction of the new PVC plant equivalent to its shareholding in QVC," al-Sulaiti said.Being the first PVC plant Qatar, this project aims to position the country as a new regional player in the PVC production, while reinforcing the downstream value chain.The new plant will be integrated with the existing QVC facilities located at Mesaieed Industrial City and will source feedstock (vinyl chloride monomer) from the existing facilities.The new plant will maximise synergies on efficient water and power usage and existing supply chain capabilities, while assuring sustainable operations.The new plant aims to meet the growing demand, especially the construction industry.The PVC produced is expected to meet the domestic market demand and provide opportunities to export internationally.PVC as a product can be handled, stored, and shipped safely and seamlessly; and could be coupled with other similar products produced in Qatar to provide opportunities for optimised logistical cost structures.

Gulf Times
Business
Global concerns play spoilsport in QSE as index tanks 171 points

The global concerns on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US and the Federal Reserve's hawkish stand on interest rates last week continued to have its dampening effect on the Qatar Stock Exchange, which Sunday plummeted 171 points and its key index closed below 10,600 points.An across the board selling – particularly in the insurance, real estate and banking counters – led the 20-stock Qatar Index knock off 1.59% to 10,565.41 points.About 88% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market, which reported 1.08% year-to-date losses.The Arab retail investors were seen net profit takers in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR9.04bn or 1.46% decrease to QR609.25bn, mainly on account of midcap segments.The Gulf individuals were also seen bearish in the main market, which saw a total of 0.05mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.16mn changed hands across six deals.The local 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 other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shrank 1.59%, All Share Index by 1.44% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.63% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The insurance sector index tanked 2.66%, realty (1.88%), banks and financial services (1.59%), telecom (1.4%), consumer goods and services (1.27%), industrials (1.14%) and transport (0.81%).Major shakers in the main market included Dlala, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Dukhan Bank, Aamal Company, Qatari German Medical Devices, Qatar Islamic Bank, Doha Bank, Lesha Bank, QIIB, Mannai Corporation, Estithmar Holding, Qatar Insurance, QLM, Ezdan, Mazaya Qatar and Nakilat.Nevertheless, Inma Holding, Beema, Gulf Warehousing, Milaha and Qatar Oman Investment were among the gainers in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The Arab retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR11.63mn compared with net buyers of QR7.17mn on March 9.The Gulf individual investors were net sellers to the extent of QR0.72mn against net buyers of QR1.42mn last Thursday.The foreign institutions’ net buying shrank markedly to QR11.72mn compared to QR19.92mn the previous day.The local retail investors’ net buying weakened perceptibly to QR2.7mn against QR4.63mn on March 9.The Gulf institutions’ net buying eased marginally to QR2.78mn compared to QR2.88mn last Thursday.However, the foreign individual investors’ net buying grew notably to QR4.4mn against QR2.51mn the previous day.The domestic institutions’ net profit booking shrank substantially to QR9.26mn compared to QR38.57mn on March 9.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure against net buyers to the extent of QR0.03mn last Thursday.The main market saw 17% contraction in trade volumes to 97.87mn shares, 34% in value to QR252.93mn and 32% in deals to 8,329.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE amends list of securities eligible for margin trading, market making and liquidity provision

Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) has amended the list of securities eligible for the margin trading, market making and liquidity provision.This has been done according to the QSE indices semiannual review and will be effective from April 2, 2023.The eligible securities are those included in main barometer QE Index and in Al Rayan Islamic Index.Stocks with all four quarterly turnovers exceeding 10% and all four quarterly frequency of trading exceeding 80% from the trading days in each quarter as well as units of QE Index ETF and Al Rayan Qatar ETF, the exchange traded funds sponsored by Doha Bank and Masraf Al Rayan respectively, are also eligible.The list of securities eligible for market making and margin trading are QNB, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar Islamic Bank, Industries Qatar, Commercial Bank, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Nakilat, Woqod, Qamco, Milaha, QIIB, Gulf International Services, Ooredoo, Estithmar Holding, Qatar Electricity and Water, Barwa, Baladna, Doha Bank, Ezdan, and Al Rayan Qatar ETF.The list also includes Salam International Investment, Vodafone Qatar, United Development Company, Qatari Investors Group, Qatar National Cement, Al Meera, Mazaya Qatar, Qatar German Company for Medical Devices, Lesha Bank, Medicare Group, Inma Holding, Mannai Corporation, QE Index ETF, Alijarah Holding, Dlala, Qatar Oman Investment, Widam Food, Al Khaleej Takaful and Mekdam Holding.However, the communique said Qatar Insurance, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing and Qatar Islamic Insurance are not eligible anymore for both activities.All listed companies in the main market and in the venture market at the QSE and all ETFs units listed are eligible for liquidity provision.Through margin trading, a financial services company funds a percentage of the securities’ market value purchased for its client, pursuant to the agreement governing the relation between them.Margin trading will allow investors to purchase securities that are partially financed by a loan or credit facility made available by a margin lender, a member licensed to provide such services.It is understood that Qatar has adopted a 60:40 method wherein a financial services company funds 40% of the securities’ market value purchased for its client pursuant to the agreement governing the relation between them.Market makers play a key role in providing liquidity to facilitate market efficiency and in the absence of them, it usually takes longer for buyers and sellers to match, translating as lower liquidity and higher trading costs owing to difficulties in entry and exit.Liquidity provision is an important development and one of the key components in the overall market development strategy of the QSE and liquidity providers would enable them to submit constant quotes for the sale or purchase of a particular security to increase its liquidity as per the controls and conditions set forth in the liquidity provision agreement.

Gulf Times
Business
Private vehicles sales accelerate Qatar's auto sector month-on-month in January 2023: PSA

Qatar's automobile sector began 2023 on a solid note with it witnessing a robust double-digit month-on-month acceleration in sales of private personal use and transport vehicles in January 2023, according to the official statistics.The country saw 6,389 new vehicles registered in January 2023, of which as much as 92% was for the private use, said the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The new vehicle registrations registered a 40.2% surge on a monthly basis in January 2023 but fell 20% on an annualised basis.The registration of new private vehicles stood at 4,988, which shot up 51.9% and 16.58% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in January 2023. Such vehicles constituted 78% of the total new vehicles registered in the country in the review period.The registration of new private transport vehicles stood at 918, which grew 21.8% on a monthly basis but plummeted 46.4% year-on-year in January 2023. Such vehicles constituted 14% of the total new vehicles in the review period.The registration of new private motorcycles stood at 213 units, which plunged 31.5% and 85.5% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in January 2023. These constituted 3% of the total new vehicles in the review period.The registration of new heavy equipment stood at 162, which constituted 3% of the total registrations in January 2023. Their registrations had seen a 76.1% expansion month-on-month but shrank 27.7% on a yearly basis in the review period.The registration of trailers amounted to 64 units, which was unchanged from December 2022 levels even as it reported 52.4% surge on an annualised basis in the review period.The new registration of other non-specified vehicles stood at 44 units, which shrank 17% and 83.5% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in January 2023.The renewal of registration was reported in 82,840 units, which saw 32.6% and 10.8% increase on monthly and yearly basis respectively in January 2023. It constituted 59% of the clearing of vehicle-related process in the review period.The transfer of ownership was reported in 33,150 vehicles in January 2023, which zoomed 36.7% and 8.1% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively. It constituted 23% of the clearing of vehicle-related process in the review period.The number of lost/damaged vehicles stood at 7,955 units, which shot up 30.4% month-on-month but shrank 17.4% on a yearly basis in January 2023.The modified vehicles’ registration amounted to 6,120, which expanded 111% and 36.2% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in January 2023.The cancelled vehicles stood at 3,038 units, which declined 17.9% on monthly basis but showed a 15.5% growth on an annualised basis in the review period.The number of vehicles meant for exports stood at 1,505 units, which reported 41.1% surge on a monthly basis but was down 13.3% year-on-year in January 2023.The re-registration of vehicles stood at 100, which reported 42.9% increase month-on-month but plummeted 38.7% on yearly basis in January 2023.The clearing of vehicle-related processes stood at 141,074 units, which grew 34.2% and 6.9% on monthly and yearly basis respectively in the review period.Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports had handled 5,708 RORO (vehicles) in January 2023, which registered an 8.86% and 0.44% contraction on monthly and yearly basis respectively. Hamad Port alone handled 5,667 units in January 2023.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE maintains upward trajectory despite US rate uncertainty; M-cap adds QR7bn

Notwithstanding the concerns on the US rates, the Qatar Stock Exchange remained on an upward trajectory for the second consecutive week and its key index gained as much as 115 points in key index and QR7bn in capitalisation.The banking, real estate, telecom, industrials and consumer goods counters witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index grew 1.08% this week which saw the Qatar Financial Center report that found the country’s private sector rebound in February this year on improved demand in the non-energy sectors.The Gulf funds were seen bullish this week, which saw the Qatar Development Bank join hands with the QSE by providing funds up to QR4.6mn or 70% of the listing fees of every eligible small and medium-sized enterprise wishing to get listed on the venture market.About 54% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main market this week, which saw Dukhan Bank enter into pact with Wasata Financial Services and Commercial Bank Financial Services for liquidity provision.The foreign retail investors were seen net buyers this week which saw Qatar Electricity and Water Company enter into a nine-year gas turbine service contract with General Electric.The Gulf individual investors were also seen net buyers in the main market this week, which saw the QSE announce rejigging of its main barometer by including Vodafone Qatar in place of Qatar Insurance, effective from April 1.The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the main market this week which saw a total of 0.61mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange traded fund QATR worth QR1.47mn trade across 39 deals.Trade turnover and volumes were on the decline in the main market this week, which saw as many as 0.07mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange traded fund QETF valued at QR0.74mn change hands across 39 transactions.Market capitalisation was seen gaining QR7.03bn or 1.15% to QR618.29bn on the back of mid and small cap segments this week which saw the industrials and banking sectors together constitute about 62% of the total trade volume in the main market.The Total Return Index gained 1.26%, All Share Index by 1.28% and All Islamic Index by 0.75% this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The banks and financial services sector index shot up 2.05%, realty (1.62%), telecom (1.35%), industrials (1.23%) and consumer goods and services (1.11%); while insurance declined 3.14% and transport (2.59%) this week which saw no trading of treasury bills.Major gainers in the main market included Mannai Corporation, Salam International Investment, Mazaya Qatar, Beema, Dukhan Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, QNB, Lesha Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Estithmar Holding, Barwa, Vodafone Qatar and Gulf Warehousing this week which saw Capital Intelligence (CI) affirm the long-term foreign currency rating (LT FCR) and short-term foreign currency rating (ST FCR) of Commercial Bank at ‘A+’ and ‘A1’, respectively with "stable" outlook.Nevertheless, QLM, Doha Insurance, United Development Company, Qatar Insurance, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Dlala, Qatari German Medical Devices, Baladna, Aamal Company, Qatari Investors Group, Ooredoo, Nakilat and Milaha in the main market. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value this week which saw CI affirm the (LT FCR and ST FCR of Ahlibank at ‘A+’ and ‘A1’, respectively with "stable" outlook.The Gulf institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR25.69mn compared with net sellers of QR64.75mn the week ended March 2.The foreign individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR9.53mn against net sellers of QR4.66mn a week ago.The Gulf individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.42mn compared with net profit takers of QR0.98mn the previous week.The Arab funds turned net buyers to the extent of QR0.03mn against net sellers of QR0.09mn the week ended March 2.The Arab individual investors’ net selling shrank noticeably to QR1.51mn compared to QR6.81mn a week ago.However, the domestic institutions’ net selling increased significantly to QR107.85mn against QR61.79mn the previous week.The local retail investors were net sellers to the tune of QR12.13mn compared with net buyers of QR7.37mn the week ended March 2.The foreign funds’ net buying weakened substantially to QR84.79mn against QR131.71mna week ago.Total trade volume in the main market shrank 12% to 576.01mn shares, value by 26% to QR1.67bn and deals by 19% to 54,713.

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
Vodafone to replace QIC in QSE main barometer from April

Vodafone Qatar will replace Qatar Insurance in the Qatar Stock Exchange’s (QSE) main barometer QE Index, effective April 1.Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company will be removed from 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 new index practices, a review is carried out twice a year to ensure that the selection and weighting of the constituents continue 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, Qatar Electricity and Water, Ooredoo, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Milaha, 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 Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar Islamic Bank, Industries Qatar, Milaha, Woqod, Ooredoo, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, QIIB, Barwa, Qatar Electricity and Water, United Development Company, Qamco, Vodafone Qatar, Ezdan, Al Meera Consumer Goods, Baladna, Qatar National Cement, Medicare Group, Qatari Investors Group, Gulf Warehousing and Estithmar Holding.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
QSE defies global concerns as its key index gains 30 points

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Wednesday gained as much as 30 points and its key index surpassed the 10,750 levels, defying the general declining trend in the global markets in view of the interest rate hike concerns in the US.The banking counter witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.28% to 10,752.32 points.The market, which was skewed towards shakers, regained from an intraday low of 10,628 points although losers outnumbered gainers.The local retail investors were seen net buyers, albeit at lower levels, in the main market, whose year-to-date gains improved to 0.67%.The foreign institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR0.39bn or 0.06% increase to QR620.06bn, mainly on account of microcap segments.The domestic institutions’ net selling was seen weakening marginally in the main market, which saw a total of 0.33mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR1.08mn changed hands across 27 deals.The foreign retail investors turned net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining vis-à-vis gains in the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.46% and the All Share Index by 0.45%, while the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) was down 0.03% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the rise.The banks and financial services sector index shot up 1%, followed by realty (0.27%), telecom (0.11%) and consumer goods and services (0.03%); while transport declined 1.09%, industrials (0.07%) and insurance (0.05%).Major gainers in the main market included Mannai Corporation, Estithmar Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Gulf Warehousing, Barwa and QNB.Nevertheless, about 63% of the traded constituents were in the red with major losers being Aamal Company, Doha Insurance, Ooredoo, Qatari German Medical Devices, Baladna, Lesha Bank, Al Meera, Ezdan, Mazaya Qatar and Nakilat.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 QR1.71mn compared with net sellers of QR18.15mn on March 7.The domestic institutions’ net profit booking eased marginally to QR20.22mn against QR20.23mn the previous day.However, the Arab retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR4.41mn compared with net buyers of QR7.76mn on Tuesday.The Gulf institutions were net profit takers to the extent of QR1.01mn against net buyers of QR8.06mn on March 7.The Gulf retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR0.9mn compared with net buyers of QR1.39mn the previous day.The foreign institutions’ net buying decreased substantially to QR23.55mn against QR34.94mn on Tuesday.The foreign individual investors’ net buying weakened marginally to QR1.27mn compared to QR1.76mn on March 7.The Arab institutions continued to have no major net exposure for the fifth straight session.The main market saw a 2% jump in trade volumes to 157.35mn shares, 19% in value to QR480.12mn and 15% in deals to 14,895.

QDB CEO Abdulrahman Hesham al-Sowaidi unveils the co-investment programme for start-ups at Investment Forum.
Business
QDB unveils first of its kind co-investment programme for start-ups; pitches QR3.65mn per deal

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) Tuesday unveiled a co-investment product for start-ups, the first of its kind in the country, with it investing QR3.65mn per deal and allowing local and global funds to provide part of the required capital.This was announced by QDB acting chief executive officer Abdulrahman Hesham al-Sowaidi at the bank's fifth Investment Forum, held in co-operation with Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group business.About the co-investment opportunity for the local and global funds, al-Sowaidi said under the new programme, "we will enable private investors and local and international funds to provide part of the required capital for start-ups with QDB investing up to QR3.65mn per deal."This, according to him, would reduce the risks carried by individual and corporate investors and complete investment rounds more effectively.More than 870 start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have benefited from QDB's products and support so far with more than QR7.3bn deployed in direct and indirect financing since its inception."This includes QR253mn in 2022 and creating over 600 highly skilled jobs in sustainable and innovative businesses," he said.Since the inception of its investment fund, valued at QR365mn, al-Sowaidi said it has launched a range of products such as SME Equity Fund or 'Istithmar', which is aimed at investing in start-ups.The lender also revised 'Ithmar', a Shariah-compliant equity financing programme in which QDB funds up to 90% of a project, targeting the very early stage companies, according to him.Regarding 'Ithmar', he said the bank has revisited the seed programme and upgraded it with developments in the industry and accordingly doubled the ticket size to QR1.8mn.Through its various initiatives and programmes, QDB aims to cement Qatar's position as an ideal ecosystem for entrepreneurship where demand meets opportunity to foster innovation and growth, he said.QDB's latest efforts have been focused on creating new initiatives specifically designed for emerging and growth oriented sub-sectors such as cybersecurity, deep tech, fintech and sportstech, al-Sowaidi said."Our efforts to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem goes beyond investments with QDB providing capacity building training programmes to qualify more than 60 investors to actively engage within the investment sector," he said.Through its investment Bootcamp, QDB educates new and seasoned investors on how to identity and evaluate emerging opportunities and provide guidance and advice on the investment process."Qatar is not only emerging as a successful hub for start-ups and SME growth but one that promises many opportunities for venture capitals, thanks to its fast-growing economy and untapped domains," al-Sowaidi said.The forum featured eight companies operating across industries ranging from fashion to construction technology, namely Avey, Build Hop, Cytomate, Therappy, Emma, Dana Riad, Enable, and ADGS who pitched their innovative business solutions to investors.Marc Deschamps, a unicorn entrepreneur in tech, and co-head of DAI Magister investment bank, addressed the forum, touching on emerging investment hubs. His keynote speech was followed by a discussion session with Ashraf Abu Issa, chairman and chief executive officer of Abu Issa Holding Company.This year’s investment forum, which was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Doha Tech Angels investment club, saw angel investors and representatives of venture capital funds, investment banks and public investment funds from Qatar and overseas discuss the best practices in closing investment deals and efforts to overcome challenges in the investment landscape.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar five-star hotels record improved rooms' yield in January

Qatar's five-star hotels witnessed improved rooms' yield in January 2023, even as the hospitality sector overall reported decline in average revenue available per room, according to data from the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The decline in the country's hospitality sector comes in view of a double-digit shrinkage in visitors, especially from other Arab countries and the Americas, compared to December 2022, which saw the crucial matches of FIFA World Cup, according to figures released by the PSA.In the case of five-star hotels, the average revenue per available room increased 6.75% on annualised basis to QR269 in January 2023 as the average room rate grew 5.49% to Q576 and the occupancy by 1% to 47%.However, the country's overall hospitality sector saw an 8.68% year-on-year contraction in average revenue per available room to QR200 in January 2023 although the average room rate jumped 6.27% to QR424. Nevertheless, occupancy shrank 8% to 47% in the review period.This trend in the hospitality sector’s room yield comes amidst a 44.5% month-on-month plunge in visitor arrivals to 340,405 in January 2023 with majority coming from the GCC countries and Europe. On an annualised basis, the total visitor arrivals soared 611.1% in the review period.The visitor arrivals from the GCC were 141,998 or 42% of the total; followed by Europe 100,549 or 30%; other Asia (including Oceania) 57,950 or 17%; Americas 24,540 or 7%; other Arab countries 9,446 or 3% and other African countries 6,012 or 2%.The visitor arrivals from other Arab countries fell 89.3% month-on-month, while it grew 103.1% year-on-year this January; those from the Americas shrank 64.1% on a monthly basis but soared 576.2% on yearly basis; those from other Asia (including Oceania) fell 41.8% month-on-month but gained 52.3% year-on-year; those from other African countries by fell 41.7% compared to December 2022 but soared 363.5% on annualised basis; and those from GCC were lower by 41.9% month-on-month but surged 611.1% year-on-year.The average revenue per available room in the four-star hotels plummeted 37.93% on a yearly basis to QR108 in January 2023 as the average room rate was down 3.89% to QR247 and the occupancy by 24% to 44%.The three-star hotels saw a 39.7% year-on-year contraction in average revenue per available room to QR120 as average room rate shrank 7.58% to QR195 and the occupancy by 33% to 61% in the review period.The two-star and one-star hotels' average revenue per available room declined 28.42% year-on-year to QR136 in January 2023 as the average room rate dipped 16.67% to QR165 and the occupancy by 13% to 83%.The deluxe hotel apartments saw a 10.88% year-on-year shrinkage in average revenue available per room to QR172 in January 2023 even as the average room rate in the category was seen gaining 8.12% on an annualised basis to QR386. However, the occupancy was down 10% to 44% in the review period.In the case of standard hotel apartments, the room yield decreased by 38.54% year-on-year to QR118 in January 2023 as the average room rate was down 4.8% to QR218 and occupancy by 30% to 54%.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE crosses 10,700 levels on foreign funds’ increased buying interests

The foreign institutions’ increased net buying Tuesday lifted the Qatar Stock Exchange by 28 points and its key index breached the 10,700 levels..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[8019]**Ahead of the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.26% to 10,722.57 points, on the back of consumer goods and banking sectors.The market, which was marginally skewed towards gainers, regained from an intraday low of 10,697 points.The Arab individual investors were increasingly net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date gains improved to 0.39%.The Gulf individual investors were seen bullish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR2.23bn or 0.36% jump to QR619.67bn, mainly on account of midcap segments.The domestic institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, which saw a total of 0.14mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.44mn changed hands across 14 deals.However, the local retail investors’ net selling pressure intensified in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen declining vis-à-vis gains in the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.26% and the All Share Index by 0.42%, while Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) shrank 0.35% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover fell amid higher volumes.The consumer goods and services sector index gained 1.56% and consumer goods and services (0.93%); while telecom declined 2.57%, insurance (0.64%), realty (0.48%), transport (0.1%) and industrials (0.09%).Major gainers in the main market included Beema, Zad Holding, Al Meera Consumer Goods, Salam International Investment, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, QNB and Mazaya Qatar.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Qatari Investors Group, Ooredoo, United Development Company, Dlala, Lesha Bank, Qatar National Cement, Gulf International Services and Barwa were among the losers in the main market.The foreign institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR34.94mn compared to QR6.39mn on March 6.The Arab individual investors’ net buying strengthened noticeably to QR7.76mn against QR3.5mn the previous day.The Gulf retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.39mn compared with net sellers of QR0.48mn on Monday.The domestic funds’ net profit booking weakened perceptibly to QR20.23mn against QR28.83mn on March 6.However, the local retail investors’ net selling expanded considerably to QR18.15mn compared to QR0.33mn the previous day.The Gulf institutions’ net buying decreased markedly to QR8.06mn against QR15.76mn on Monday.The foreign retail investors’ net buying eased notably to QR1.76mn compared to QR4.01mn on March 6.The Arab institutions continued to have no major net exposure for the fourth straight session.The main market saw a 5% jump in trade volumes to 153.94mn shares but on 3% fall in value to QR400.39mn and 11% in deals to 13,002.

A higher than average selling pressure at the insurance, banking and industrials counters led the 20-stock Qatar Index to decline 1.21% to 10,799.84 points Wednesday.
Business
QSE inches towards 10,700 levels as Islamic stocks outperform

A higher than average demand in telecom, real estate and industrials counters Monday led Qatar Stock Exchange gain more than 73 points and its key index inched towards 10,700 levels.The Gulf institutions were seen increasingly into net buying as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.69% to 10,695.04 points.The market, which was skewed towards gainers, touched an intraday high of 10,751 points.The Arab individual investors were seen bullish in the main market, which turned black year-to-date by posting 0.13% gains.More than 69% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR6.18bn or 1.01% jump to QR617.44bn, mainly on account of mid and small cap segments.The foreign retail investors were increasingly net buyers in the main market, which saw a total of 0.03mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.2mn changed hands across 26 deals.The local retail investors’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen outperforming the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.69%, All Share Index by 0.67% and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.17% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The telecom sector index soared 2.63%, real estate (2.31%), industrials (1.34%), banks and financial services (0.33%), consumer goods and services (0.25%) and transport (0.01%); while insurance declined 0.95%.Major gainers in the main market included Mannai Corporation, Lesha Bank, Mazaya Qatar, Salam International Investment, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Dukhan Bank, Alijarah Holding, Medicare Group, Industries Qatar, Gulf International Services, Qamco, Barwa, Ezdan, Ooredoo and Gulf Warehousing.Nevertheless, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Zad Holding, Qatar Insurance, Beema, Estithmar Holding and Nakilat 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 markedly to QR15.76mn compared to QR3.54mn on March 2.The foreign retail investors’ net buying expanded noticeably to QR4.01mn against QR0.19mn the previous trading day.The Arab individual investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR3.5mn compared with net sellers of QR2.5mn last Thursday.The local individual investors’ net profit booking decreased considerably to QR0.33mn against QR10.08mn on March 2.The domestic funds’ net selling weakened perceptibly to QR28.83mn compared to QR36.38mn the previous trading day.The Gulf retail investors’ net profit booking eased marginally to QR0.48mn against QR0.93mn last Thursday.However, the foreign institutions’ net buying shrank substantially to QR6.39mn compared to QR46.14mn on March 2.The Arab institutions continued to have no major net exposure for the third straight session.The main market saw a 4% shrinkage in trade volumes to 146.77mn shares, 18% in value to QR411.49mn and 10% in deals to 14,604.

Gulf Times
Business
Long term residency to increase Qatar's attractiveness: PwC

A long-term residency with incentives could go a long way in further enhancing Qatar's attractiveness in the labour market, said a report from an international consultancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)."By offering a long-term residency with incentives to increase the ‘stickiness of the population’, similar to the golden visa approach adopted in recent years by some neighbouring Gulf countries, Qatar may further increase its attractiveness," PwC said in its report.Expats are eligible to apply for a permanent residency in Qatar by purchasing $200,000 worth of real estate property in the country, as per Law No. 16 of 2018 on the regulation of non-Qatari ownership and use of real estate. Free hold ownership for non-Qatar nationals is permitted in certain areas.PwC also said Qatar may consider a proactive approach towards labour reform to capitalise on the momentum brought on by the FIFA World Cup and upcoming AFC Asian Cup to continue boosting Qatar’s public image as a nation dedicated to improving migrant workers’ rights and conditions.Well before Doha was awarded the hosting of the FIFA World Cup, the Qatar National Vision 2030 laid out the country's aspiration to improve the conditions of migrant workers.The International Labour Organisation (ILO) attests that the “kafala” sponsorship system has been abolished, with the ending of practices such as no-objection certificates and employer-granted exit permits.In addition, Qatar was the first GCC country to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage law, set at QR1,000 per month, on top of QR800 for accommodation and food. Furthermore, heat stress protection regulations have been introduced to limit outdoor work in high temperatures and provide workers with heat stress training, personal protective equipment and annual health checks.The inauguration of the ILO project office in Qatar in 2018 further reflects Qatar’s earnest commitment to improve labour practices and address criticisms it has received in the past."The 2023 outlook for Qatar and the GCC region appears more upbeat in comparison to the rest of the world," the report said.PwC said investing in skills development among the national workforce, supported by the new laws and regulations, should remain at the top of the agenda in order to reach the ambitions of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Gulf Times
Business
Doha’s waste management market offers “unique” opportunities: Invest Qatar

Doha’s waste management market exhibits unique opportunities for growth in the remediation, treatment, and materials recovery areas, according to Investment Promotion Agency Qatar.Moreover, Qatar is a "promising" hub for waste management in the wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, Invest Qatar said in its presentation.Qatar generates about 8mn metric tonnes of solid waste of which 48% is from the construction sector, followed by bulk waste (34%) and domestic waste (17%), it said.Qatar’s integrated national solid waste management programme underpinned by Qatar National Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy II creates opportunities across the waste management value chain, it said, adding QNV 2030 aims to involve the private sector in waste management through appropriate PPP (public private partnership) modes.The Gulf country launched the integrated national solid waste management programme during 2022 with a target of 95% diversion of waste from landfills and segregation of 75% of total waste at source, by 2030."Qatar offers significant opportunities to key players at each stage of the value chain with megatrends in waste management and technological advancements," Invest Qatar said.Highlighting that distinct opportunities are clustered across the recycling, the report said Qatar’s current waste comprises approximately 5% metals – of which steel accounts for 70% and aluminium 30%.Metal scrap in Qatar is generated through municipal solid waste (MSW), scrapping of end-of-life cars, and tire recycling, it said, adding 69,534 tonnes of metal scrap generated from MSW in Qatar.Finding that Qatar has built essential infrastructure including nine waste management facilities, the report said a 1,500MT per day capacity is currently under development in Al Khor.Qatar was the first country in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) to implement a waste-to-energy program and currently generates more than 30MW of electricity from its domestic solid waste management centre (DSWMC) located at Mesaieed (Doha).While DSWMC is equipped with sorting, recycling and incineration facilities, DSWMC currently does not recycle plastic waste, it said, adding the capacity of DSWMC is lower than the daily domestic waste generated in Qatar of by about 1,200MT.The global market for waste-to-energy (WtE) technologies was valued at $35bn, proving Qatar as a pioneering and promising candidate for the WtE systems GCC market, the report said.Invest Qatar said as much as 10mn tonnes of plastic waste and 9mn tonnes of metal waste are produced annually in the GCC and about $6bn per year is the GCC’s total market potential, which in turn has the potential to create about 50,000 new jobs in the region.The report found that as much as 15% operating margins offer "unique" opportunities in e-waste, plastic recycling and packaging.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE edges up as key index surpasses 10,600 level; Islamic equities outperform

Reflecting the global optimism over expectations of a strong economic rebound in China, the Qatar Stock Exchange on Thursday gained 50 points and its key index surpassed 10,600 levels.The telecom, real estate, consumer goods and industrials counters witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.47% to 10,621.81 points.The market, which was skewed towards gainers, was seen touching an intraday high of 10,741 points."The first nearby resistance level comes at 10,780 points, which if broken would lead to 11,215 point and maybe higher to 11,500 point, knowing that a firm close above this would decrease the downside risk," Kamco said in its technical analysis note.The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses were curtailed to 0.55%.About 71% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR1.59bn or 0.26% jump to QR611.26bn, mainly on account of micro and small cap segments.The foreign retail investors were increasingly net buyers in the main market, which saw a total of 0.05mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.36mn changed hands across 24 deals.The Gulf institutions continued to be net increasingly net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index was seen outperforming the other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.47%, the All Share Index by 0.24% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.22% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The telecom sector index soared 2.12%, realty (1.53%), consumer goods and services (1.22%), industrials (1.13%), insurance (0.1%) and transport (0.09%); while banks and financial services fell 0.49%.Major gainers in the main market included Ezdan, Zad Holding, United Development Company, Gulf International Services, Qamco, Doha Bank, QIIB, Industries Qatar, Ooredoo, Qatar Electricity and Water, Vodafone Qatar and Gulf Warehousing.Nevertheless, Mannai Corporation, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, QNB, Inma Holding and Medicare Group were among the losers in the main market.In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The foreign institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR46.14mn compared to QR18.064mn on March 1.The foreign retail investors’ net buying expanded marginally to QR0.19mn against QR0.18mn the previous day.However, the domestic institutions’ net selling grew substantially to QR36.38mn compared to QR3.16mn on Wednesday.The local individual investors’ net profit booking strengthened noticeably to QR10.08mn against QR8.43mn on March 1.The Arab individual investors’ net selling grew perceptibly to QR2.5mn compared to noticeably to QR1.92mn the previous day.The Gulf retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR0.93mn against net buyers of QR0.28mn on Wednesday.The Gulf institutions’ net buying weakened markedly to QR3.54mn compared to QR4.25mn on March 1.The Arab institutions continued to have no major net exposure for the second straight session.The main market saw a 31% surge in trade volumes to 153.47mn shares, 28% in value to QR503.24mn and 21% in deals to 16,148.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar's mandatory health cover to fuel premium growth: S&P

Qatar's mandatory medical insurance may see a minimum additional gross written premium (GWP) of QR1bn to QR1.5bn, but has the potential for 15%-20% in additional premium growth above the current base-case, according to Standard and Poor's (S&P).Qatar's compulsory health insurance law was expected to take effect in May 2022, but has been delayed several times, the rating agency said.Under the law, all foreign visitors, residents, and workers in the country will have to hold medical insurance for the entire duration of their stay, unless they are exempt.As of February 1, 2023, the first phase was implemented, requiring visitors to purchase a health policy at a premium starting from QR50. "In our view, this will not be a material contributor to premium growth," the report said.The larger part of the scheme could generate QR1bn to QR1.5bn in additional GWP in the coming years, S&P said, adding it has, however, not incorporated this in its growth forecast for 2023, since pricing and the table of benefits for policyholders have not been disclosed."When implemented, the sector will likely see a spike of new business, leading to 15%-20% in additional premium growth above our current base-case," the rating agency said.S&P estimated a net combined ratio for the industry of about 86% in 2022, with most listed companies returning strong technical profits."In 2023, we estimate a combined ratio of 90%-93%, as the portion of medical business, which tends to have lower profit margins, expands," it said.In the wider Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), it said, insurers are reaping the benefits of ongoing economic growth in the region."The expansion of infrastructure investment and medical insurance covers will continue to spur premiums in 2023, albeit at a slower pace than in 2022," the report said.Although premium incomes rose, profitability fell in most GCC markets in 2022, according to the credit rating agency."For 2023, we expect a modest uptick in earnings if insurers continue to reprice underperforming business. Higher investment returns following an increase in interest rates should also support earnings, in our view," S&P said.The introduction of new medical covers and some inflation-related tariff adjustments were among the key growth drivers in 2022, it said."We expect GWP growth will continue to outpace the build-up of capital in most markets in 2023. This will particularly be the case for many smaller and midsize insurers if they do not manage to increase their earnings," the report said.Expecting ratings to remain stable overall, supported by relatively robust capital buffers, it said the credit conditions for some unrated, smaller-to-midsize insurers could weaken this year, driven by strong premium growth, higher claims frequency, and regulatory/compliance costs, which would require further capital raising and consolidation in the sector.