Author

Thursday, February 02, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal, a postgraduate in Econometrics with an advance qualification in Capital Markets and Financial Services, is Gulf Times' journalist. His coverage areas are debt and equity, hydrocarbons, international trade, environment, banks, insurance and real estate. Previously, he was in New Delhi, India as Senior Finance Correspondent of PTI.
QSE
Business
QSE index rises on buying support

The increased net buying interests of foreign funds and individuals on Tuesday lifted the Qatar Stock Exchange more than 24 points but overall it failed to break the 11,800 resistance levels. The consumer goods, banks and insurance counters witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled 0.21% higher at 11,767.45 points, recovering from an intraday low of 11,721 points. The foreign individuals were increasingly net buyers in the bourse, whose year-to-date gains improved to 12.76%. The Gulf individuals were seen net buyers in the market, whose capitalisation saw about QR2bn or 0.25% jump to QR681.42bn, mainly owing to microcap segments. The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the bourse, where the industrials and banking sectors together constituted about 66% of the total trading volume. The overall trade turnover and volumes were on the decline in the main market, where the domestic funds were increasingly net sellers. The Arab individuals were also seen net profit takers in the market, which saw a total of 21,029 exchange traded funds (Masraf Al Rayan sponsored QATR) valued at QR55,636 change hands across five deals. The Total Return Index rose 0.21% to 23,294.38 points, All Share Index by 0.28% to 3,724.22 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.05% to 2,658.85 points in the market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills. The consumer goods and services sector index gained 0.43%, banks and financial services (0.39%), insurance (0.24%), industrials (0.18%), transport (0.1%) and realty (0.02%); while telecom declined 0.6%. Major movers in the main market included Gulf International Services, Medicare Group, Qamco, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Mannai Corporation, QNB, Qatari Investors Group, Qatar Islamic Insurance and United Development Company. Al Faleh was seen gaining in the venture market. Nevertheless, Dlala, Alijarah Holding, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Mazaya Qatar, Salam International Investment, Qatari German Medical Devices, Industries Qatar, Al Khaleej Takaful, QLM, Ezdan, Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar were among the losers. Mekdam lost its sheen in the junior bourse. The foreign institutions’ net buying increased significantly to QR80.37mn compared to QR43.7mn on October 18. The foreign individuals’ net buying strengthened noticeably to QR2.31mn against QR0.74mn the previous day. The Gulf individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.26mn compared with net sellers of QR0.95mn on Monday. The local retail investors’ net selling declined markedly to QR10.94mn against QR29.47mn on October 18. However, the domestic funds’ net profit booking grew substantially to QR85.44mn compared to QR54.66mn the previous day. The Arab individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR1.03mn against net buyers of QR3.63mn on Monday. The Gulf institutions’ net buying decreased drastically to QR13.48mn compared to QR36.25mn on October 18. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the eighth straight session. Total trade volume in the main market fell 16% to 202.61mn shares, value by 11% to QR601.57mn and transactions by 9% to 13,864. There was 63% plunge in the insurance’s sector’s trade volume to 0.96mn equities, 53% in value to QR3.44mn and 40% in transactions to 78. The telecom sector’s trade volume plummeted 47% to 3.03mn stocks, value by 14% to QR12.73mn and deals by 13% to 618. The banks and financial services sector saw 46% shrinkage in trade volume to 36.04mn shares, 34% in value to QR194.89mn and 13% in transactions to 6,135. The consumer goods and services sector’s trade volume tanked 46% to 23.62mn equities, value by 14% to QR63.52mn and deals by 6% to 1,641. The market witnessed 10% contraction in the transport sector’s trade volume to 9.19mn stocks and 10% in value to QR39.2mn but on 11% jump in transactions to 722. The real estate sector’s trade volume was down 2% to 32.81mn shares, value by 8% to QR44.24mn and deals by 18% to 757. However, the industrials sector’s trade volume shot up 23% to 96.97mn equities and value by 28% to QR243.55mn; whereas transactions fell 1% to 3,913. In the venture market, volumes more than doubled and value more than tripled on double deals.    

Alexanderu00a0Edwards, Sales Director for Cityscape
Business
Cityscape Qatar 2022 edition seen to feature more global firms, proptechs

Buoyed by the response from this year's edition despite the Covid-19 challenges, Cityscape Qatar 2022 will see more global firms, including proptechs and other allied segments supporting the real estate sector, as Doha is now on the overdrive in smart cities initiative. "We are very happy with the response in terms of activities, visitors and participants although it cannot be compared to the previous versions," said Alexander Edwards, Sales Director for Cityscape. Highlighting that this year saw 15% of the participating companies from international markets; he said, "Going forward, we plan to have more of them. Our drive for next is to get more global businesses." Asked how Qatar's promising potential to be showcased, he said the strategy would be county and company level interactions as Qatar has increasing potential not only in the real estate but also in allied sectors, apart from the legacy of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Highlighting that the real estate is not just brick and mortar, he said the idea is to bring in proptechs as well as the architecture, design, commercial, hospitality sides, in view of smart cities being implemented. Qatar’s model concept of smart cities is gradually turning into a reality through Msheireb Downtown Doha and Lusail City. The opportunity to showcase proptechs comes in view of the real estate market trending toward efficient systems and addressing new consumption patterns, especially in the backdrop of coming up of smart cities. It optimises the research on rent, buy, sell, and managing a property; benefiting across the developers, investors, and property management entities. According to Al Tamimi and Co, a leading law firm, proptech is becoming increasingly prevalent at every stage of a real estate asset’s life cycle from financing and construction through to its disposal. Qatar is experiencing incredible growth ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and there are compelling reasons for Doha's growth story to be canvassed in a broader and wider scale, according to the feedback from a cross section of the participants at the Cityscape. The three-day event saw project launches and key updates on mega in-progress projects. The exhibitors included Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, Qetaifan Projects, Sotheby's International Realty, Barwa Group and United Development Company. "With the World Bank forecasting economic growth of 4.1% for Qatar in the next year, the country’s real estate market is flourishing with new developments," Edwards said. The country’s purchasing managers’ index has pointed to a robust non-energy private sector, especially in the construction.    

Gulf Times
Business
Barwa-Huawei pact to see more sustainable societies

Barwa Real Estate Group on Monday signed a co-operation agreement with Huawei to provide its in-progress and future projects with smart technology services related to the information, communication and technology (ICT) systems. The move, which supports Doha's smart cities initiative, comes with a view to increase the group’s contribution to the development of a more sustainable society; a society that enhances the concept of the smart city model to achieve the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030. Most of the services and products that would be offered by Huawei to Barwa Real Estate Group projects depend on the fifth generation (5G) technology, which creates a smarter and more connected world, and enhances the strength of the technology used to meet Barwa's ambitions and to keep pace with the state's plans. The agreement was signed by Abdullah bin Jubara al-Rumaihi, chief executive of Barwa Real Estate Group, and Alex Zeng, Director of Huawei Enterprise Business Group for Enterprise and Institutions Sector in the North Gulf Region, on the sidelines of Cityscape Qatar. Under the agreement, Huawei will provide a full-fledged package of smart products and services for Barwa's in-progress and future projects; namely, the installation of sixth version of Wi-Fi systems “WiFi6”, the world's latest technology which contributes to the transmission of Internet data at a high speed and smart performance to avoid data waste. The package includes the installation of a wireless-camera system that use technologies integrated with G5 services and operate via the electronic chip, as well as the provisions of all modern technology solutions for the smart complex system, which includes many integrated smart systems operating in a unified management and control system, which improves their use to be more effective and efficient. In addition, the package incorporates the provision of these projects with data transmission network devices, data centre systems, and smart lighting systems equipped with solar panels to provide electrical energy. "We are delighted to co-operate with Huawei, one of the largest global companies specialised in smart technology and a pioneer in providing ICT solutions," al-Rumaihi said. Such co-operation would contribute to raising the efficiency of the operational and service processes of the group's projects, and also enhance its competitiveness in order to maximise the benefit for shareholders, and meet the needs of all beneficiaries of current and future generations, he said. Barwa Real Estate Group is planning to integrate its projects with cutting-edge smart digital technology to support this transformation, which provides many economic, developmental and environmental benefits for Qatar. This is part of its initiatives to support the group's guiding principle of strategic partnership with the government. "The smart cities concept has become one of the necessities in light of rapid urbanisation impacts on the traditional infrastructure," he said.

Barwa officials explain about the project coming up in Lusail
Business
Barwa to complete three major projects next year

Barwa Group will complete three pioneering projects, which embody the principle of strategic partnership with the government, by next year. The first project is "Madinatna"; a residential city for families, with a completion rate of (52%). The second project is "Barahat Al Janoub"; a residential city for the working class, with a completion rate of (62%). Barwa announced completion timetable for its three major projects Visitors look at the replica of Furjan Wadi Lusail Development, extending over an area of more than 3.48mn sqm Barwa officials at Cityscape Qatar 2021 The third project is "Qatar Schools Development Programme – Package 1". The group has already completed about 37% of the project's stages. These were disclosed at the Cityscape Qatar, which will conclude Tuesday. The "Qatar Schools Development Programme – Package 1" comes in line with the law regulating the partnership between the public and private sectors. Barwa Real Estate Group and Ashghal had signed the first-of-its-kind partnership agreement between the public and private sectors in the educational field. As per the agreement, Barwa Real Estate will develop eight public schools by the year 2022 and provide maintenance support for such schools over a period of 25 years. Then, the schools will be handed over to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education immediately upon the completion of construction works. The first package includes two primary schools, two preparatory schools, and four secondary schools. Each of the new schools will offer 30 classes, including allocated classes and facilities for the persons with special needs. Classes will accommodate 786 students according to the approved design model. Moreover, the schools will have dedicated and equipped educational facilities, including labs of science, linguistics, IT, sports, arts, activities as well as libraries. Schools will also offer outdoor spaces, sports fields, car parks and service buildings. "This type of public-private partnership aims to enhance the private sector’s contribution to the implementation of major state projects in order to achieve economic development and encourage competition and innovation," Barwa said. The Madinatna, a residential project for families in Al Wakra City, extends over an area of 1.14mn sqm, providing a high-quality living standard for the different segments of the community, and upgrading its services and integrated facilities to the level of modern cities. The project comprises residential building with designs inspired by the traditional Qatari architecture style. The project offers a group of buildings, varying from (G+4) and (G+4+penthouse), equipped with the latest technologies of smart cities. The project will offer 6,780 apartments, of which 2,040 are two-bedroom and 4,740 three-bedroom, accommodating about 27,000 people. It will provide various services and integrated amenities such as a hypermarket, retail stores, mosques and other public utility services, bringing the total built-up area to approximately 1.04mn sqm. It is located on the G-Ring Road which connects the area to the southern regions, the Industrial Area, and the highways, including Al Majd and Sabah Al Ahmad Highways, thus providing easy access to Ras Bu Aboud Street, the Corniche and the downtown of Doha City, via the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor, also connecting Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Intersection on Al Shamal Road. Moreover, the proximity of Madinatna to the modern public transport facilities such as Al Wakra Metro Station, Free Zones Metro Station, and a number of public bus service lines, will add many advantages to the location, from residential and commercial perspectives, and will provide several options for transportation. Barahat Al Janoob is located in Al Wakra municipality and extends over a land area of 773,457 sqm, with a design inspired by Arab houses with courtyards. It consists of 1,404 units of (G+2) equipped with smart city technology, offering 16,848 rooms each accommodating up to four persons. Barahat Al Janoub will accommodate 67,360 workers, providing residents with various service facilities such as hypermarkets, retail stores, mosques and other public services, bringing the total built-up area to about 750,742 sqm. The project is located next to Al Wakra Central Market on Mesaieed Road, and is distinguished by its proximity to important developmental projects and sustainable service facilities such as Al Wakra Logistics District, Umm Al Houl Free Zone, Hamad Port, and Hamad International Airport, in addition to its proximity to sports and service facilities in Al Wakra municipality, such as hospitals and stadiums.

Sheikh Nasser and El Chaar cement pact for the premium project in Qetaifan Island North.
Business
Qetaifan, Dar Al Arkan join hands to develop a premium project

Qetaifan Projects, the leading Qatari real estate development company owned by Katara Hospitality, and Dar Al Arkan, the realty major in Saudi Arabia, have signed an agreement valued at QR700mn to develop a premium project on Qetaifan Island North. The project marks Dar Al Arkan’s foray into Qatar with the aim of driving the development of the luxury property market and support the growth of Qatar’s real-estate sector. An agreement was signed Monday by Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, managing director, Qetaifan Projects, and Ziad El Chaar, vice chairman of Dar Al Arkan Properties, at the Cityscape Qatar, which will conclude Tuesday. Through the partnership, Dar Al Arkan will develop a luxury project on Qetaifan Island North comprising premium residential units with glorious direct, front line sea views that capture the timeless appeal of seafront living coupled with modern amenities. The project will also offer residents access to specialised retail outlets on the ground floor. Work on the development will start in the second quarter of 2022 and total sales are expected to reach over QR1bn. Expressing confidence that the tie up would strengthen the foreign direct investment into the country; Sheikh Nasser said the reach of Dar Al Arkan in the Saudi Arabian markets will bring more investors as owners into this project. "Today we are talking as developers and tomorrow we have individual blocks and units that are going to be sold whether to investors from Saudi Arabia or the UAE or to any country in region. So we are open to inviting any kind of investors," he said, adding the project is expected to be completed by 2026. The Saudi Arabian firm views Qatar as "very promising" market since it presents to the international investors a good package in terms of pricing, rentals, residency and very importantly connectivity. "With one of the busiest international airports and the best airlines in the world, this represents a very big opportunity for international investors to invest in Qatar. Today Doha present one of the nest options in terms of safety and security," El Chaar said. Sheikh Nasser said Qetaifan Island North is being developed to become an attractive and sought-after destination with its many residential, entertainment, retail and recreational offerings that will put Qatar on the regional and global tourism map. "We are happy to conclude this agreement, which shows Qetaifan Projects’ efforts to provide an attractive investment environment for foreign investments and provide the local market with international standards and options that work on developing and revitalising sectors such as tourism, hospitality, entertainment and of course real estate development, working hand in hand to achieve Qatar Vision 2030,” he said. Appreciative of Doha’s thriving real-estate market, El Chaar said as the nation gets ready to host the World Cup next year, "we believe this global event will have positive implications for the market and position Qatar as a desirable market that is equally attractive to both local residents and international investors." Qetaifan Island North is emerging as a thriving waterfront hub representing a new, modern lifestyle. The distinct island will feature a thrilling waterpark, an array of luxurious hotels, unrivalled accommodation, exceptional retail options, and world class facilities that make it a vibrant and attractive community. The island seeks to develop into an internationally acclaimed and recognised landmark location and Qatar’s future iconic destination.

QSE
Business
Banks, industrials lift QSE above 11,700 points

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Sunday opened the week on a stronger note as it gained 88 points to inch cross the 11,700 levels, mainly on higher than average buying in the banking and industrials counters. The Gulf institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled 0.75% higher at 11,751.38 points, recovering from an intraday low of 11,696 points. The domestic funds’ net selling weakened substantially in the bourse, whose year-to-date gains improved to 12.6%. The Arab individuals were increasingly net buyers, albeit at lower levels, in the market, whose capitalisation saw about QR6bn or 0.86% jump to QR681.61bn, mainly owing to small and mid-cap segments. More than 62% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the bourse, where the industrials and consumer goods sectors together constituted more than 64% of the total trading volume. The overall trade turnover and volumes were on the decline in the main market, where the local retail investors turned net sellers. The foreign institutions’ net buying weakened considerably in the market, which saw a total of 30,376 exchange traded funds (Masraf Al Rayan sponsored QATR and Doha Bank sponsored QETF) valued at QR83,226 change hands across seven deals. The Total Return Index rose 0.75% to 23,262.56 points, All Share Index by 0.8% to 3,719.25 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.41% to 2,655.59 points in the market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills. The banks and financial services index gained 1.1%, industrials (0.76%), real estate (0.49%), consumer goods and services (0.34%), telecom (0.22%) and transport (0.13%); while insurance declined 0.68%. Major movers included Gulf International Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Industries Qatar, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Mannai Corporation, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Ezdan, Nakilat, Vodafone Qatar and Aamal Company; even as Inma Holding, Qatar Insurance, Qatar First Bank, Alijarah Holding and Qamco were among the losers. The Gulf institutions’ net buying increased markedly to QR35.34mn compared to QR18.45mn on October 14. The Arab individuals’ net buying grew marginally to QR4.73mn against QR4.32mn the previous trading day. The domestic funds’ net selling weakened significantly to QR60.5mn compared to QR151.23mn last Thursday. However, the local retail investors were net sellers to the extent of QR44.43mn against net buyers of QR6.62mn on October 14. The Gulf individuals turned net profit takers to the tune of QR0.95mn compared with net buyers of QR0.64mn the previous day. The foreign institutions’ net buying decreased significantly to QR65.52mn against QR117.44mn last Thursday. The foreign individuals’ net buying shrank noticeably to QR0.29mn compared to QR3.75mn on October 14. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the sixth straight session. Total trade volume fell 17% to 252.56mn shares, value by 20% to QR599.18mn and transactions by 26% to 11,772. The industrials sector’s trade volume plummeted 44% to 90.97mn equities, value by 38% to QR209.26mn and deals by 42% to 3,399. There was 35% plunge in the insurance’s sector’s trade volume to 1.81mn stocks, 41% in value to QR4.72mn and 62% in transactions to 89. The real estate sector’s trade volume tanked 22% to 22.92mn shares, value by 17% to QR34.44mn and deals by 14% to 1,070. However, the market witnessed 51% surge in the transport sector’s trade volume to 10.16mn equities, 62% in value to QR41.2mn and 2% in transactions to 537. The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume shot up 38% to 46mn stocks, whereas value eroded 19% to QR178.28mn and deals by 27% to 3,938. The telecom sector reported 34% jump in trade volume to 9.44mn shares and 5% in value to QR22.07mn but on 10% fall in transactions to 843. The consumer goods and services sector’s trade volume expanded 11% to 71.25mn equities, value by 19% to QR109.21mn and deals by 14% to 1,896.    

Cityscape visitors look at the upcoming Furjan Wadi Lusail Development.
Business
Furjan Wadi Lusail to elevate Barwa’s position at local, regional levels

Barwa on Sunday said its Furjan Wadi Lusail Development, extending over an area of more than 3.48mn sqm, once completed, will elevate its status to a developer of the largest strategic realty project in Qatar. The proposed project, which is located in the northern part of Lusail City, is surrounded by a number of roads and tram stations. It will comprise as many as 1,700 villas, along with residential apartments. The proposed project will include all the main facilities such as kindergartens, schools, shops, clubs, restaurants, mosques, public areas, health centres, green spaces, waterbodies, roads and paved walkways. "Upon completion of the study and launch of the project, Furjan Wadi Lusail Development will enhance Barwa's status as a developer of the largest strategic real estate projects in Qatar, and bolsters its leadership at the local and regional levels," said HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, and chairman of Barwa Real Estate Group. Furjan Wadi Lusail Development is a distinctive residential project inspired by Qatari environment, expressing Qatar's culture and identity and highlighting the nature of daily life and components of old Qatari Furjan (neighbourhood) through its special designs, namely Al Sikka (road) and Al Baraha (rest area), which support the privacy of the residents and give it a touch of Islamic architecture, with contemporary integrated engineering. "The Qatari city is the model that Furjan Wadi Lusail Development seeks to reach by adhering to the Qatari heritage which is mixed with elements of modernity in one place, to attract lovers of Qatari urban heritage and architectural identity," Barwa group chief executive Abdullah bin Jubara al-Rumaihi said on the sidelines of the Cityscape Qatar 2021, which began yesterday. During the design stages of this pioneering project, attention would be drawn to highlight the ancient Qatari architectural identity and the nature of daily life in the country, while taking advantage of the development and transformation Qatar witnessed at the level of urban, economic, social and cultural renaissance, through the optimal use of local architecture elements and the integration of heritage methods with modern technology to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources. "The idea of the project's design will take the form of a group of Furjan, which will provide it with real social dimensions, reflecting the very essence of the word Freej, which mirrors family bonding, social solidarity, and the children gathering place, in a way that confirms and preserves the Qatari culture depicted in the imagination and minds of Qatari society," HE al-Ali said. The proposed project's location in the modern, promising and smart city of Lusail is an important part of the success of its objectives, especially that its proximity to the waterfront and the recreational and sports facilities in Lusail City will add more aesthetic elements to the project. Al-Rumaihi said the project study would ensure that car parking will be developed in a modern and different way in order to promote the basement parking concept that many residents of houses or villas may not be accustomed to, as well as designing buildings similar to what the Qatari citizen is accustomed to while adding all the touches of the lifestyle of old Freej. "The plans of Barwa Real Estate Group to study new investment opportunities deepens the principle of its strategic partnership with the government of the State of Qatar, through presenting various projects that keep pace with urban and population growth and investment thinking, in order to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030," he said.    

Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani signs the agreement with Qatari Diar chief executive Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiyah in the presence of HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Acting Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, and other dignitaries.
Business
Qatar Chamber signs deal with Qatari Diar to relocate its headquarters to Lusail City

The Qatar Chamber (QC) will soon relocate its headquarters to Lusail City for which it has entered into a purchase agreement with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. The agreement was Sunday signed by QC chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani and Qatari Diar chief executive Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiyah on the sidelines of the opening of Cityscape Qatar in the presence of HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Acting Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari. The new headquarters in the Commercial Boulevard in Lusail City coincides with the renaissance witnessed by Qatar and it will be properly equipped to suit all the activities, services, and events provided by the Chamber to the private sector. "Lusail is the city of the future and the first smart city in the region owing to its state-of-the-art infrastructure and the investment opportunities it offers for businessmen," Sheikh Khalifa said. The chamber’s current headquarters would be relocated to the new building after it is fully completed, he said, adding that its shifting to the Commercial Boulevard would further enhance the services to its members. The Commercial Boulevard is one of the unique projects in Lusail City for its diversity as it consists of spacious buildings designed for multipurpose uses including retail, corporate offices, hotels, residential units, and convention centres. Al-Attiyah said chamber’s shifting to Lusail City assumes significance as it is an important addition to the services provided by the city in line with Qatari Diar’s vision to make Lusail the economic capital city of the country. The Commercial Boulevard is 1.3-km long and includes a group of luxurious multi-use residential units and shops designed in line with the highest global quality standards. Located at the heart of Lusail City and starting from Al Khor road west to towers of Lusail Plaza east, the Commercial Boulevard is a dynamic and diverse commercial and residential destination. The Commercial Boulevard is inspired by the Champs-Élysées avenue in France, with its towers surrounding the high gate, and car and pedestrian roads. It is a vibrant residential and commercial destination that encompasses a variety of shopping centres and entertainment facilities, giving residents and visitors unique lifestyle experiences. Lusail City consists of several ministries and government departments along with significant multinational companies and institutions. Developed by Qatari Diar, it extends across an area of 38sqkm and can accommodate approximately 450,000 people.    

QSE
Business
Foreign institutions lift sentiments; industrials, realty outperform index

The foreign funds’ substantially increased net buying lifted the sentiments in the Qatar Stock Exchange, which neared the 11,700 levels this week. The industrials and realty counters witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 1.11% this week which saw the US-based Institute of International Finance view that Qatar is slated to see strong recovery in 2021 and 2022 and the recent structural reforms are expected to encourage foreign direct investments in the non-energy sector. “Improved macroeconomic indicators as well as international oil and gas prices and higher non-Qatari ownership limits are expected to positively affect the weights of the listed companies in the global indicators,” QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori had tweeted in response to the rally in the stocks. The Arab individuals’ net buying strengthened substantially this week which saw robust expansion in the building permits issued this September vis-à-vis the previous month's levels, indicating better prospects for Qatar's realty and construction sectors. The foreign individuals were seen bullish this week which saw Vodafone Qatar report net profit of QR200.42mn in the first nine months of this year. More than 68% of the traded constituents in the main market extended gains this week which saw the Investment Holding Group announce that its board has approved the acquisition of Elegancia Holding Group Company and its subsidiaries according to the exchange ratios agreed upon. The Gulf funds continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity this week which saw Mannai Corporation, Industries Qatar, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding and Qamco equities touch 52-week high. The local retail investors’ net selling was seen weakening significantly this week which saw a total of 262,878 Masraf Al Rayan sponsored exchange traded fund QATR valued at QR685,733 change hands across 27 transactions. The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the main barometer this week which saw a total of 115,026 Doha Bank-sponsored QETF valued at QR1.31mn trade across seven deals. Market capitalisation saw about QR10bn or 1.46% increase to QR675.79bn, mainly on large and small cap segments this week which saw the consumer goods and industrials sectors together constitute about 69% of the total trade volume. The Total Return Index gained 1.11%, All Share Index by 1.10% and All Islamic Index by 1.04% this week which saw no trading of sovereign bonds. The industrials sector index surged 2.86%, realty (1.13%), banks and financial services (0.86%), consumer goods and services (0.77%) and transport (0.19%); while telecom declined 0.5% and insurance (0.12%) this week which saw no trading of treasury bills. Major gainers in the main market included Qatari German Medical Devices, Mannai Corporation, Qamco, Gulf International Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, QNB, Doha Bank, Inma Holding, Salam International Investment, Medicare Group, Baladna, IQ, Qatar National Cement, Qatari Investors Group, Mazaya Qatar and United Development Company this week. Nevertheless, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Qatar Islamic Bank, Ahlibank Qatar and Vodafone Qatar were among the shakers in the main market. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mekdam Holding saw their equities lose sheen. The overall trade turnover and volumes were on the rise in the main market and the junior bourse this week which saw Qatar's consumer price index inflation shoot up 2.71% year-on-year in September 2021. In the main market, the industrials sector accounted for 47% of the total trade volume, consumer goods and services (21%), real estate (13%), banks and financial services (12%), transport (3%), telecom (2%) and insurance (1%) this week. In terms of value, the industrials sector’s share was 39%, banks and financial services (29%), consumer goods and services (17%), realty (7%), transport (5%), telecom (3%) and insurance (1%) this week. The foreign funds’ net buying grew significantly to QR405.49mn against QR290.13mn the week ended October 7. The Arab individuals’ net buying strengthened considerably to QR33.2mn compared to QR8mn a week ago. The foreign individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR6.93mn against net sellers of QR2.39mn the previous week. The Qatari individuals’ net selling fell drastically to QR63.83mn compared to QR181.89mn the week ended October 7. However, the domestic funds’ net profit booking grew substantially to QR388.72mn against QR144.56mn a week ago. The Gulf individuals’ net selling increased noticeably to QR14.44mn compared to QR3.58mn the previous week. The Gulf institutions’ net buying eased markedly to QR21.35mn against QR33.66mn the week ended October 7. The Arab funds had no major next exposure compared with net buyers to the extent of QR0.58mn a week ago. Total trade volume in the main market rose 32% to 1.25mn shares, value by 28% to QR3.12bn and transactions by 43% to 70,032. The consumer goods and services sector’s trade volume soared 89% to 268.09mn equities, value by 77% to QR520.7mn and deals by 60% to 8,737. The market witnessed 76% surge in the industrials sector’s trade volume to 589.34mn stocks, 54% in value to QR1.21bn and 53% in transactions to 21,222. However, the telecom sector’s trade volume plummeted 37% to 26.92mn shares and value by 18% to QR80.77mn, whereas deals expanded 48% to 4,466. There was 31% plunge in the insurance sector’s trade volume to 16.12mn equities and 31% in value to QR45.87n but on 6% jump in transactions to 956. The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume tanked 24% to 152.22mn stocks, while value gained 11% to QR895.39n and deals by 51% to 26,353. The transport sector reported 14% shrinkage in trade volume to 36.32mn shares, 12% in value to QR143.06mn and 18% in transactions to 2,466. The real estate sector’s trade volume was down 1% to 162.8mn equities; whereas value grew 1% to QR231.49mn and deals by 10% to 5,832. In the venture market, volumes shot up 71% to 0.68mn stocks, value by 5% to QR2.3bn and transactions by 29% to 125.    

The faster expansion in the establishment of businesses was especially seen in the transportation and logistics, construction, information and communication, administrative and support services, agriculture and mining, said the findings of the Qatar Census 2020, which was released early this week.
Business
Qatar sees 131% growth in business establishments in 2010-20: PSA

Qatar saw more than doubling of business entities as employment grew about 60% in the last one decade, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA). The faster expansion in the establishment of businesses was especially seen in the transportation and logistics, construction, information and communication, administrative and support services, agriculture and mining, said the findings of the Qatar Census 2020, which was released early this week. The total number of business establishments stood at 71,203 at the end of 2020, showing a growth of 130.6% during 2010, and employment had grown 59.7% to 1.66mn during the review period. The transportation and logistics sector saw 431.2% surge in business entities to 3,809 between 2010 and 2020. Such entities constituted 5.3% of the total business entities during 2020 compared to 2.3% during 2010. The employment within the sector had soared 263.4% during 2010-20. The construction sector reported the second fastest growth at 380% to 12,092 establishments, which accounted for 17% of the total business establishments during 2020 against 8.2% during 2010. The employment within the sector had risen 31.2% over the last decade. The information and communication sector saw the third fastest growth at 327.4% to 812 business establishments and the employment had seen a 124.1% growth over the last decade. The sector constituted 1.1% of the total number of businesses during 2020 compared to 0.6% during 2010. There were as many as 20,444 business entities under wholesale and retail trade as well as automobile workshops, witnessing 28.7% growth over the last decade. The sector constituted 56% of the total business establishments during 2020 compared to 42.5% during 2010. The employment within this largest sector (in absolute terms) had grown 66.1% in the last 10 years. The agriculture and fishing sector had seen as many as 9,936 business entities come up in the last once decade, showing a growth of 219%. Such establishments constituted 14% of the total business establishments during 2020 compared to 10.1% during 2010. The employment within the sector witnessed a 127.4% growth in the last one decade. The manufacturing sector witnessed 28.2% increase in the number of business entities to 3,960 at the end of 2020. It constituted 5.6% of the total number of business establishments during 2020 against 10% during 2010. The accommodation and food services establishments saw 162.9% surge to 5,116, which accounted for 7.2% of the total establishments during 2020 compared to 6.3% during 2010. The sector had seen employment 116.9% growth during 2010-20. The mining and quarrying sector reported 108.7% growth in the number of business establishments to 430 in the last 10 years. It constituted 0.6% of the business establishments during 2020 against 0.7% during 2010. The employment within the sector had however retarded 61.9% during 2010-20. The country had seen as many as 866 business entities related to the real estate activities sprang up in the last ten years, growing 100%. The sector constituted 1.2% of the total establishments during 2020 compared to 1.4% during 2010. The employment had seen a 125.2% growth during 2010-20. The administrative and support services sector had witnessed 275.7% growth to 5,338 establishments between 2010 and 2020. It accounted for 7.5% of the total business establishments during 2020 compared to 4.6% during 2010. The sector had witnessed the maximum employment growth of 423.5% during 2010-20. The other service segment saw as many as 2,891 business establishments in the last one decade. It constituted 4.1% of the total business entities during 2020 against 5.8% during 2010. The employment within the sector had seen a 129.9% surge during 2010-20.    

QSE
Business
QSE extends winning streak to inch towards 11,700 points

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Thursday gained 60 points to inch near 11,700 levels, mainly on foreign institutions’ increased buying interests. The industrials and banking counters witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled 0.51% higher at 11,663.63 points, recovering from an intraday low of 11,594 points. “Improved macroeconomic indicators as well as international oil and gas prices and higher non-Qatari ownership limits are expected to positively affect the weights of the listed companies in the global indicators,” QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori tweeted in response to the rally in the stocks. The Gulf institutions and local retail investors turned bullish in the bourse, whose year-to-date gains improved to 11.76%. The foreign individuals were increasingly net buyers in the market, whose capitalisation saw more than QR3bn or 0.53% jump to QR675.79bn, mainly owing to small and microcap segments. The Gulf individuals were seen net buyers, albeit at lower levels, in the bourse, where the industrials and consumer goods sectors together constituted more than 74% of the total trading volume. The overall trade turnover and volumes were on the increase in the main market, where the domestic funds were increasingly net sellers. The Arab individuals continued to be net buyers but with lesser vigour in the market, which saw a total of 61,659 exchange traded funds (Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored QATR and Doha Bank-sponsored QETF) valued at QR560,388 change hands across 12 deals. The Total Return Index rose 0.51% to 23,088.86 points, the All Share Index by 0.52% to 3,689.9 points and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.43% to 2,644.67 points in the market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills. The industrials sector index gained 0.89%, banks and financial services (0.56%), transport (0.31%), telecom (0.22%) and realty (0.11%); while insurance declined 0.2% and consumer goods and services (0.03%). Major movers in the main market included Qamco, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Gulf International Services, Salam International Investment, QNB, Industries Qatar, Mazaya Qatar, United Development Company, Ooredoo and Nakilat. Nevertheless, Qatari German Medical Devices, Inma Holding, Ezdan, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Investment Holding Group, Commercial Bank, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Qatari Investors Group, Qatar Electricity and Water and Vodafone Qatar were among the shakers in the main market. Mekdam Holding was seen declining in the venture market. The foreign institutions’ net buying increased significantly to QR117.44mn compared to QR82.57mn on October 13. The Gulf funds turned net buyers to the tune of QR18.45mn against net sellers of QR3.83mn the previous day. The local retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR6.62mn against net sellers of QR32.02mn on Wednesday. The foreign individuals’ net buying increased noticeably to QR3.75mn compared to QR1.16mn on October 13. The Gulf individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.64mn against net sellers of QR2.58mn the previous day. However, the domestic funds’ net selling strengthened significantly to QR151.23mn compared to QR60.71mn on Wednesday. The Arab individuals’ net buying weakened markedly to QR4.32mn against QR15.42mn on October 13. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the fifth straight session. Total trade volume in the main market rose 5% to 305.01mn shares, value by 11% to QR744.86mn and transactions by 2% to 15,941. The insurance’s sector’s trade volume more than quadrupled to 2.77mn equities and value more than tripled to QR8.04mn on almost-tripled deals to 236. The transport sector’s trade volume more than doubled to 6.72mn stocks, value soared 84% to QR25.41mn and transactions by 47% to 526. The market witnessed a 62% surge in the telecom sector’s trade volume to 7.07mn shares, 46% in value to QR21.08mn and less than 1% in deals to 940. The industrials sector’s trade volume shot up 23% to 161.66mn equities, value by 37% to QR336.94mn and transactions by 25% to 5,904. However, there was a 17% plunge in the real estate sector’s trade volume to 29.27mn stocks, 20% in value to QR41.56mn and 18% in deals to 1,249. The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume tanked 17% to 33.44mn shares, whereas value grew 13% to QR219.93mn amidst 5% decline in transactions to 5,423. The consumer goods and services sector reported a 14% shrinkage in trade volume to 64.08mn equities, 37% in value to QR91.9mn and 27% in deals to 1,663. The venture market had seen volumes more than quadruple and value jump more than seven-fold on doubled transactions.    

Gulf Times
Business
QSE crosses 11,600 level on buying support from foreign funds, Arab individuals

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Wednesday witnessed strong buying interests from foreign funds as it settled above 11,600 levels. The industrials and transport counters witnessed higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled more than eight points or 0.07% higher at 11,603.88 points, recovering from an intraday low of 11,573 points. The Arab individuals turned bullish in the bourse, whose year-to-date gains improved to 11.19%. The foreign individuals were seen net buyers, albeit at lower levels in the market, whose capitalisation saw about QR1bn or 0.12% gain to QR672.26bn, mainly owing to microcap segment. The Gulf individuals’ net selling pressure also had its influence in the bourse, where the industrials and consumer goods sectors together constituted more than 71% of the total trading volume. The overall trade turnover and volumes were on the increase in the main market, where the local retail investors and domestic funds were increasingly net sellers. The Gulf institutions were seen bearish in the market, which saw a total of 87,292 exchange traded funds (Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored QATR and Doha Bank-sponsored QETF) valued at QR836,151 change hands across five deals. The Total Return Index rose 0.07% to 22,970.58 points and the All Share Index by 0.13% to 3,670.87 points, while the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) was down 0.09% to 2,633.25 points in the market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills. The industrials sector index gained 0.65%, transport (0.15%) and banks and financial services (0.04%); while realty shrank 0.6%, telecom (0.4%), consumer goods and services (0.1%) and insurance (0.09%). Major gainers in the main market included Investment Holding Group, Inma Holding, Qatari German Medical Devices, Qatar Investors Group, Industries Qatar, QNB, Qatar Electricity and Water, Qamco, Al Khaleej Takaful and Gulf Warehousing. Nevertheless, Mazaya Qatar, Alijarah Holding, Baladna, Ezdan, Gulf International Services, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, QIIB, Widam Food, United Development Company, Mazaya Qatar and Ooredoo were among the losers in the main market. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mekdam Holding were shakers. The foreign institutions’ net buying increased significantly to QR82.57mn compared to QR60.22mn on October 12. The Arab individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR15.42mn against net sellers of QR1.36mn the previous day. The foreign individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR1.16mn compared with net sellers of QR0.22mn on Tuesday. The Gulf individuals’ net profit booking eased perceptibly to QR2.58mn against QR3.21mn on October 12. However, the domestic funds’ net selling strengthened notably to QR60.71mn compared to QR52.25mn the previous day. The local retail investors’ net selling grew drastically to QR32.02mn against QR6.67mn on Tuesday. The Gulf funds turned net sellers to the tune of QR3.83mn compared with net buyers of QR3.21mn on October 12. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the fourth straight session. Total trade volume in the main market rose 18% to 289.3mn shares, value by 7% to QR668.24mn and transactions by 29% to 15,605. The industrials sector’s trade volume soared 70% to 131.31mn equities, value by 53% to QR246.68mn and deals by 55% to 4,733. The consumer goods and services sector reported a 24% surge in trade volume to 74.64mn stocks but on 3% decline in value to QR144.9mn amidst 3% jump in transactions to 2,289. The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume grew 21% to 40.26mn shares, value by 15% to QR193.85mn and deals by 54% to 5,683. However, there was a 72% plunge in the insurance’s sector’s trade volume to 0.59mn equities, 62% in value to QR2.33mn and 52% in transactions to 82. The transport sector’s trade volume plummeted 58% to 2.69mn stocks, value by 61% to QR13.82mn and deals by 37% to 359. The real estate sector saw 41% shrinkage in trade volume to 35.18mn shares, 39% in value to QR52.24mn and less than 1% in transactions to 1,523. The telecom sector’s trade volume was down 8% to 4.36mn equities and value by 3% to QR14.43mn, while deals expanded 12% to 936. The venture market had seen volume, value and deals plummet 52.88%, 37.63% and 17.6% respectively.

An aerial view of Qatar's first Cable-Stayed Bridge, which extends from Mesaimeer Road to Al Bustan Street and crosses over Halul Intersection on Mesaimeer Road and Faleh Bin Nasser Intersection on Salwa Road. Qatar is slated to see strong recovery in 2021 and 2022 and the recent structural reforms are expected to encourage foreign direct investments in the non-energy sector, according to the Institute of International Finance.
Business
Qatar slated to see strong recovery in 2021 and 2022: IIF

* Qatar’s structural reforms to encourage FDI in non-energy sectors Qatar is slated to see strong recovery in 2021 and 2022 and the recent structural reforms are expected to encourage foreign direct investments (FDI) in the non-energy sector, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF). "We expect strong recovery in 2021 and 2022, supported by the strengthening of oil and gas prices, the revival in domestic demand on the back of the progress made in vaccination, and the end of the three-year blockade," the US-based economic think-tank said in a report. In February this year, Qatar Petroleum, now rebranded as QatarEnergy, announced its investment decision on the $29bn expansion of its North Field. "This will allow QP to expand its production capacity from 77mn to 110mn tonnes of LNG (liquefied natural gas) per annum by 2025," it said, adding the modest twin deficits of 2020 would shift to sizeable surpluses in 2021 and 2022. The authorities have recently launched partnerships with the private sector for logistics zones and other infrastructure projects. The government also eased restrictions on foreign investment and hopes to attract more tourists by relaxing visa regulations, the report said. "Changing the law to allow foreigners to buy real estate in Qatar and allowing them to own businesses without a local partner will also encourage FDI in the non-energy sectors," the IIF said. On the prospects in the broader GCC region, the report said the economic growth is set to recover gradually to 2.1% in 2021 and 4.6% in 2022, supported by higher oil and gas prices and production, progress in vaccination that restores domestic activity, and the implementation of deeper structural reforms. "Despite higher commodity prices, inflationary pressures remain contained, aided by pegged exchange rates," it said, adding "the pegged exchange rate regime in the GCC countries continues to provide a credible policy anchor for prices and financial stability". Stressing that the pegs to the dollar are underpinned by large foreign currency assets; it said the empirical studies show that exchange rate movements have limited impact on competitiveness in the short term, as most exports in the GCC are hydrocarbons and there is limited substitutability between imports and domestically produced products. Finding that adjustment continues to be driven mainly by fiscal policy in the GCC, the report said the flexibility of the labour market allows for improving competitiveness without the need for currency adjustment. The continued modest fiscal consolidation combined with higher oil and gas prices would eliminate last year’s large fiscal deficit in 2021 and shift it to a surplus of 1% of GDP in 2022, the report said. "The fiscal breakeven oil prices will continue to decline due to further increase in non-oil revenues, recovery of oil production, and modest cuts in government spending," the report said. The combined current account balance of oil exporters would shift from a deficit of $6bn in 2020 to surpluses of $165bn in 2021 and $138bn in 2022 (6% of GDP or gross domestic product). "The appetite for the GCC debt will remain high, driven by the financial and non-financial corporate sectors," the IIF said. Highlighting that the GCC banking systems remain sound, the IIF said capital adequacy ratios exceed 16% in the region and non-performing loans to total loans remain close to 2% in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and between 4% and 8% in Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar bourse index inches near 11,600 levels on buy support

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday inched near 11,600 levels, mainly lifted by an higher than average demand for real estate, consumer goods, telecom and industrials equities. The Islamic index was seen gaining faster than the other indices as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled 27 points or 0.23% higher at 11,595.58 points, recovering from an intraday low of 11,557 points. Foreign institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser vigour in the bourse, whose year-to-date gains improved to 11.11%. About 57% of the traded constituents extended gains in the market, whose capitalisation saw more than QR10bn or 1.58% jump to QR671.43bn. The net selling pressure from the domestic funds and local retail investors weakened in the bourse, where the industrials, consumer goods and realty sectors together constituted about 81% of the total trading volume. The overall trade turnover declined amidst lower volumes in the main market, where the Gulf individuals’ net selling pressure lessened. The Gulf institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the market, which saw a total of 13,943 exchange traded funds (Masraf Al Rayan sponsored QATR) valued at QR36,397 change hands across four deals. The Total Return Index rose 0.23% to 22,954.15 points, Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.33% to 2,635.58 points and All Share Index by 0.2% to 3,666.19 points in the market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills. The real estate sector index gained 1.34%, consumer goods and services (0.6%), telecom (0.47%), industrials (0.34%), transport (0.16%) and banks and financial services 90.01%); while insurance declined 0.34%. Major gainers in the main market included Qatari German Medical Devices, Mannai Corporation, Ezdan, Mazaya Qatar, Doha Insurance, Alijarah Holding, Woqod, Baladna, Industries Qatar, United Development Company, Ooredoo and Nakilat. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mekdam Holding were seen extending gains. Nevertheless, Ahlibank Qatar, Gulf International Services, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Investment Holding Group, Zad Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Qatar National Cement, Qamco and Gulf Warehousing were among the losers in the main market. The domestic funds’ net profit booking declined considerably to QR52.25mn compared to QR101.81mn on October 11. The local retail investors’ net selling weakened markedly to QR6.67mn against QR13.72mn the previous day. The Gulf individuals’ net profit booking shrank notably to QR3.21mn compared to QR8.79mn on Monday. The foreign individuals’ net selling decreased perceptibly to QR0.22mn against QR2.53mn on October 11. However, the Arab individuals turned net sellers to the tune of QR1.36mn compared with net buyers of QR7.38mn the previous day. The foreign institutions’ net buying fell significantly to QR60.22mn against QR109.55mn on Monday. The Gulf funds’ net buying eased remarkably to QR3.21mn compared to QR9.9mn on October 11. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the third straight session. Total trade volume in the main market rose 5% to 244.67mn shares, while value was down 6% to QR622.09mn and transactions by 21% to 12,068. The venture market had seen volume, value and deals plummet 54.82%, 58.84% and 51.43% respectively. In the main market, the real estate sector’s trade volume more than doubled to 59.98mn equities and value almost tripled to QR85.85mn on 82% increase in transactions to 1,525. The consumer goods and services sector’s trade volume soared 59% to 60.01mn stocks and value almost doubled to QR149.65mn on 63% growth in deals to 2,231. The banks and financial services sector saw 37% surge in trade volume to 33.41mn shares but on 18% shrinkage in value to QR168.54mn and 42% in transactions to 3,682. However, the insurance’s sector’s trade volume plummeted 74% to 2.11mn equities, value by 72% to QR6.18mn and deals by 49% to 171. There was 47% plunge in the transport sector’s trade volume to 7.09mn stocks, 22% in value to QR35.87mn and 20% in transactions to 571. The industrials sector’s trade volume tanked 36% to 77.34mn shares, value by 39% to QR161.12mn and deals by 32% to 3,053. The telecom sector reported 5% contractions in trade volume to 4.74mn equities, 15% in value to QR14.88mn and 34% in transactions to 835.

QFC roundtable on data protection regulations.
Business
QFC outlines new data protection regulations

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business centre in the region, hosted a roundtable to provide an overview of the new data protection regulations and facilitate a structured discussion around key issues and challenges faced by firms. The QFC data protection regulations and rules were introduced in 2005. Given the number of global developments relating to the handling and protection of data over the years, the QFC has recently reviewed and amended the regulations and rules to align with these developments. “Data is increasingly becoming an important element for businesses. In parallel, the techniques to mine and retrieve personal and company information are multiplying and becoming more sophisticated," said Nasser al-Taweel, deputy chief executive and chief legal officer, QFC. The QFC places immense importance on data protection and encourages firms to stay up-to-date with the latest data regulations to ensure their businesses and stakeholders are protected, according to him. The session included a presentation covering six areas of data protection, including personal data processing, data subjects’ rights, data transfers, data controller and data processor obligations, data protection office, and remedies. It was followed by an open discussion to explore important aspects of the regulations and rules. Daniel Patterson, commissioner, Data Protection Office, QFC, said safeguarding personal data from misuse, compromise or loss is not only a legal obligation but also an ethical one. "Employing good data protection practices should be a standard conduct for any organisation. With increasing threats to data protection, regulations and rules must align with international best practice to reduce the risk of data theft and misuse by malicious parties,” he said. The proposed changes in the data protection regulations and rules include the addition of a new article on the conditions for using consent as a legal basis for processing personal data; the publication of a list of ‘adequate’ jurisdictions to which data transfers are permitted without additional requirements; the provision for the establishment of the data Protection Office (DPO) as an institution of the QFC including the role of commissioner; the introduction of a number of remedies for individuals and the DPO; and the right to lodge a complaint with the DPO.

Qatar issued a total of 736 building permits in September 2021 with Al Daayen, Al Rayyan and Doha municipalities together constituting as much as 64% of the total, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).
Business
Qatar registers buoyant monthly growth in building permits issued in September

The prospects appear to be brighter for Qatar's realty and construction sectors as there was robust expansion in the building permits issued this September vis-à-vis the previous month's levels, according to the official estimates. Qatar issued a total of 736 building permits in September 2021 with Al Daayen, Al Rayyan and Doha municipalities together constituting as much as 64% of the total; said the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA). There was a general 18% increase month-on-month in the building permits issued in Qatar with Al Shamal registering 190% growth, Al Khor (48%), Al Shamal (33%), Al Daayen (31%), Al Wakra (27%), Umm Slal (23%) and Doha (3%), while there was a 4% decline in Al Rayyan. On a yearly basis, total building permits issued nevertheless saw a 2.8% decline with Al Khor plummeting 26.1%, Doha (23.5%), Umm Slal (6.9%), Al Rayyan (6.6%) and Al Wakra (0.8%). However, Al Shamal, Al Daayen and Al Shahaniya municipalities saw 50%, 26.5% and 16% growth respectively. 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. Of the total number of new building permits issued, Al Daayen constituted 23% or 172 permits, Al Rayyan (23% or 170 permits), Doha (18% or 130 permits), Al Wakra (17% or 123 permits), Umm Slal (7% or 54 permits), Al Khor (5% or 34 permits), Al Shahaniya (4% or 29 permits) and Al Shamal (3% or 24 permits). The new building permits (residential and non-residential) constituted 47% (348 permits) of the total building permits issued in September 2021, additions 49% (360 permits) and fencing 4% (28 permits). Of the new residential buildings permits, villas topped the list, accounting for 72% (202 permits) of the total, dwellings of housing loans 21% (58 permits) and apartments 6% (16 permits). Among the non-residential sector, commercial structures accounted for 61% or 42 permits, the industrial buildings as workshops and factories 22% (15 permits) and other non-residential buildings 7% (five permits). Qatar reported a 6% month-on-month fall in the total building completion certificates issued this September with Al Shamal witnessing 25% decline, Al Daayen (20%), Al Shahaniya (18%), Al Khor (11%), Umm Slal (8%) and Al Rayyan (6%). However, there was a 5% jump in Doha; whereas Al Wakra maintained the same level. On a yearly basis, the total number of building completion certificates issued in Qatar fell 4.9% with Al Khor registering 50% plunge, Al Shahaniya (47.1%), Al Shamal (25%), Al Wakra (11.4%), Al Daayen (9.3%) and Al Rayyan (5.4%); even as Umm Slal and Doha witnessed 43.5% and 18.2% growth respectively in the review period. Qatar saw a total of 350 building completion certificates issued in September 2021, of which 241 or 69% was for the new buildings (residential and non-residential) and 109 or 31% for additions. Of the total number of new building completion certificates issued in September 2021, Al Rayyan constituted 30% or 105 certificates, Al Wakra (22% or 78), Doha (19% or 65), Al Daayen (14% or 49), Umm Slal (9% or 33), Al Shahaniya (3% or nine), Al Khor (2% or eight) and Al Shamal (1% or three). Of the 202 residential buildings completion certificates issued, as many as 135 or 67% were for villas, 48 or 24% for dwellings of housing loans and 15 or 7% for the apartments. Of the 135 villas completion certificates issued this September, as many as 39 were in Al Rayyan, 28 in Al Daayen, 23 in Wakra, 19 each in Umm Slal and Doha, three in Al Khor and two each in Al Shamal and Al Shahaniya. Of the 48 dwellings of housing loans completion certificates issued, Al Rayyan saw 23, Al Wakra (10), Al Daayen (seven), Al Shahaniya (three), Umm Slal and Doha (two each) and Al Khor (one). In the case of 15 apartments, Doha issued nine completion certificates, Wakra (two) and Al Daayen, Al Khor, Al Shamal and Al Shahaniya (one each).

Gulf Times
Business
Foreign, Gulf funds lift sentiments in QSE; index crosses 11,600 intraday

The Qatar Stock Exchange, which touched an intraday high of more than 11,600 levels, could not sustain the momentum but overall it settled 16% points higher than the previous close. Foreign institutions were increasingly into net buying as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled about 16 points or 0.14% higher at 11,569 points, although it touched an intraday high of 11,607 points. The industrials, insurance, consumer goods and banking counters witnessed higher than average demand in the bourse, whose year-to-date gains were at 10.85%. About 61% of the traded constituents extended gains in the market, whose capitalisation however saw more than QR6bn or 0.96% decline to QR660.96bn. The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the bourse, where the industrials and consumer goods sectors together constituted about 69% of the total trading volume. The overall trade turnover and volumes were on the increase in the main market, where the local retail investors’ net selling pressure lessened. The Gulf institutions were seen bullish in the market, which saw a total of 171,177 exchange traded funds (Masraf Al Rayan sponsored QATR) valued at QR446,727 change hands across six deals. The Total Return Index rose 0.14% to 22,900.73 points, Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 0.09% to 2,626.82 points and All Share Index by 0.23% to 3,659.03 points in the market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills. The industrials sector index gained 0.45%, insurance (0.45%), consumer goods and services (0.26%) and banks and financial services (0.22%); while telecom declined 0.56%, realty (0.15%) and transport (0.02%). Major gainers in the main market included Gulf International Services, Mannai Corporation, Qatar National Cement, Qamco, QNB, Ahlibank Qatar, Zad Holding, Qatari German Medical Devices, Baladna, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Qatar Insurance, Mazaya Qatar, Milaha and Nakilat. However, Doha Insurance, Ooredoo, Nakilat, Doha Bank, Ezdan, Alijarah Holding, Industries Qatar and QLM were among the losers in the main market. Both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mekdam Holding saw their shares lose sheen in the venture market. The foreign institutions’ net buying increased significantly to QR109.55mn compared to QR35.72mn on October 10. The Gulf individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR9.9mn against net profit takers of QR6.64mn on Sunday. The local retail investors’ net selling weakened markedly to QR13.72mn compared to QR18.04mn the previous day. However, the domestic funds’ net profit booking grew considerably to QR101.81mn against QR33.32mn on October 10. The Gulf individuals’ net selling strengthened noticeably to QR8.79mn compared to QR0.51mn on Sunday. The foreign individuals were net sellers to the tune of QR2.53mn against net buyers of QR4.75mn the previous day. The Arab individuals’ net buying eased marginally to QR7.38mn compared to QR7.45mn on October 10. The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second straight session. Total trade volume in the main market rose 29% to 232.61mn shares, value by 55% to QR660.96mn and transactions by 38% to 15,318. Nevertheless, the venture market had seen volume plummet 39.88% and value by 6.83% amidst 12.9% increase in deals. In the main market, the insurance’s sector’s trade volume more than tripled to 8.12mn equities and value also more than tripled to QR22.12mn on more than doubled transactions to 335. The transport sector’s trade volume more than doubled to 13.46mn stocks and value also more than doubled to QR45.92mn on more than doubled deals to 714. There was 39% surge in the real estate sector’s trade volume to 22.29mn shares, 44% in value to QR30.6mn and 21% in transactions to 839. The industrials sector’s trade volume soared 25% to 121.55mn equities, value by 33% to QR263.85mn and deals by 47% to 4,488. The market witnessed 20% expansion in the consumer goods and services sector’s trade volume to 37.83mn stocks, 27% in value to QR75.14mn and 15% in transactions to 1,367. The banks and financial services sector’s trade volume shot up 18% to 24.39mn shares, value by 92% to QR205.88mn and deals by 20% to 6,302. However, the telecom sector saw 14% shrinkage in trade volume to 4.97mn equities but on 35% jump in value to QR17.46mn amidst more than doubled transactions to 1,273. (Ends)

The white paper highlighted that Qatar has a mature financial services sector with 17 banks, which include five conventional banks, four Islamic banks, seven branches of foreign banks, along with a specialised development bank (QDB)
Business
Qatar to see surge in fintech investments; global firms eye Doha as launchpad

Doha's mature financial services industry, coupled with national initiatives to support digitisation across sectors, is expected to spur investments in fintech, according to the Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH). As part of Qatar’s fintech programme, the focus has shifted from 'B2C' to 'B2B' offerings, especially in peer-to-peer lending, merchant and e-commerce services, invoice financing, payments, and trade finance. "This has paved the way for the domestic fintechs," said QFTH's white paper on the state of the fast-developing fintech industry in Qatar and the wider Middle East and North Africa region. The recently launched incubator and accelerator programmes and the upcoming regulatory sandbox are making Qatar an attractive destination for international fintechs as well, the paper said, highlighting that many global firms such as Musaada, MyCash Money, PayFace, Sync, and Oscar have chosen Qatar as their launch-pad for the global market. "Qatar’s fintech ambition is to become a global hub by promoting and empowering Qatari entrepreneurs and innovators and becoming the launch-pad for their global expansion," the report said. Doha is actively working with global regulators (on central bank digital currency and centralised KYC utility) to ensure consistency with international standards, bring best practices to the country, and drive a country-specific regulatory focus, it said. The white paper highlighted that Qatar has a mature financial services sector with 17 banks, which include five conventional banks, four Islamic banks, seven branches of foreign banks, along with a specialised development bank (QDB). "The Qatar Mobile Payment System creates a robust enabling environment for payment-focused fintechs," it said. The drive to host a cashless FIFA World Cup in 2022 and newly launched smart city programmes (TASMU) are likely to push digital adoption across the country, QFTH paper said. Highlighting that collaborations between financial institutions and fintech players have a key role to play in developing innovative models and increasing reach to customers; it said a survey conducted by Wamda revealed that 88% of fintech entrepreneurs in the Mena region were either seeking or already benefiting from partnerships. "Such collaborations have started taking place in Qatar, which is a good indication of maturing financial services in the country," the paper said. Recently, fintechs also collaborated with Qatar Post to launch a fully integrated postal delivery POS that allows customers to make cashless payments when receiving parcels and other items by mail. "As these collaborations increase, the reach of fintech services is expected to further expand," it said. Regarding financial institutions-fintech collaboration, QFTH highlighted that Commercial Bank completed its trial of blockchain-based open-account trade finance on the 'Marco Polo' platform in January 2020. It also cited that Ahlibank Qatar formed an alliance with Visa to foster payment innovation. Under this partnership, the companies will jointly launch card-based payment products and create advanced technology solutions to bolster the payment experience for Ahlibank customers. On the opportunities in the wider Middle East, the white paper said fintech is at an early stage of development in the region, but it is an "attractive" destination for fintechs due to its large unbanked or under-banked young population, high cash usage, and recent regulatory developments that encourage growth. "Fintechs in the region are focusing on remittances, insurance, and investment advisory, and online trading is gaining traction," it said.