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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal, a postgraduate in Econometrics with an advance qualification in Capital Markets and Financial Services, is Gulf Times' journalist. His coverage areas are debt and equity, hydrocarbons, international trade, environment, banks, insurance and real estate. Previously, he was in New Delhi, India as Senior Finance Correspondent of PTI.
The transport counter witnessed substantially higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.31% this week
Business
Positive sentiments lift QSE index despite concerns on 'sticky' US inflation data

Amid concerns on "sticky" inflation data in the US and the perceived little room for reduction in the Federal Reserve interest rates, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE).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[124682]**settled this week on a higher note with its key index gaining as much as 32 points.The transport counter witnessed substantially higher than average demand as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.31% this week which saw the country unveil its third National Development Strategy 2024-30, targeting an average yearly 4% gross domestic product growth.The Gulf institutions were seen net buyers this week which saw the country’s largest lender QNB report net profit of QR15.51bn during 2023.The local retail investors’ weakened net profit booking had its influence in the main market this week which saw Nakilat embark on "strategic" expansion through a significant vessel acquisition by placing order for six gas vessels to meet the increasing demand.The Gulf individuals’ lower net selling pressure also had its say in the main bourse this week which saw Petrotec, an Al Mahhar Holding subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with a major energy customer in Qatar.However, as much as 59% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market this week which saw the Qatar Financial Centre’s purchasing managers’ index find that the country’s non-energy private sector completed a year of solid overall growth during 2023, even as the business optimism “softened” in 2024.The domestic institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse this week which saw the prospects for the realty and construction sectors in Qatar appear brighter this year with building permits issued witnessing double-digit year-on-year growth in December 2023.Similarly, the Arab individuals continued to be bullish but with lesser vigour in the main market this week which saw a total of 0.03mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.08mn trade across 10 deals.The foreign individuals were net sellers in the main bourse this week which saw this week which saw as many as 0.01mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange-traded fund QETF valued at QR0.13mn change hands across 18 transactions.The foreign funds turned net profit takers in the main market this week, which saw Qatar Islamic Insurance decide to reduce the ‘Wakala’ fee for the policyholders to 30% from 33%.The Islamic index underperformed the other indices in the main bourse this week which saw the banks and industrials together constitute more than 62% of the total trade volumes.Market capitalisation was seen adding QR0.7bn or 0.12% to QR609.36bn on the back of microcap segments this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.Trade volumes and turnover were on the decline in both the main bourse and venture market this week, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index gained 0.31%, the All Share Index by 0.44% and the All Islamic Index by 0.16% this week.The transport sector index zoomed 6.02%, banks and financial services (0.57%) and real estate (0.39%); while industrials declined 0.98%, telecom (0.9%), consumer goods and services (0.45%) and insurance (0.02%) this week.Major gainers in the main market included Milaha, Alijarah Holding, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Aamal Company, Nakilat, QNB, Masraf Al Rayan, Lesha Bank, Qatar National Cement, Qatari Investors Group, Gulf International Services, Doha Insurance, Beema, United Development Company, Mazaya Qatar and Vodafone Qatar. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares appreciate in value this week.Nevertheless, Ahlibank Qatar, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Medicare Group, Qamco, Inma Holding, Industries Qatar, Ooredoo and Gulf Warehousing were among the shakers in the main market. In the junior bourse, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value this week.The Gulf funds were net buyers to the tune of QR9.09mn against net sellers of QR143.27mn the week ended January 4.The local retail investors’ net profit booking fell drastically to QR23.12mn compared to QR77.14mn a week ago.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling weakened markedly to QR1.4mn against QR10.94mn the previous week.However, the foreign individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR13.6mn compared with net buyers of QR11.27mn the week ended January 4.The foreign funds turned net profit takers to the tune of QR9.35mn against net buyers of QR87.93mn a week ago.The Arab institutions were net profit takers to the extent of QR0.14mn compared with no major net exposure the previous week.The domestic funds’ net buying plummeted significantly to QR33.53mn against QR125.41mn the week ended January 4.The Arab individual investors’ net buying eased marginally to QR5mn compared to QR6.76mn a week ago.The main market witnessed an 18% surge in trade volumes to 680.61mn shares, 26% in value to QR1.99bn and 11% in deals to 74,986 this week.In the venture market, trade volumes declined 23% to 1.46mn equities, value by 21% to QR1.47mn and transactions by 24% to 98.

The used vehicles market in Qatar witnessed a brisk double digit growth month-on-month; while new vehicle sales were on the decline in November 2023 despite a buoyant heavy equipment segment, according to the official statistics
Business
Qatar's used vehicles market see brisk growth month-on-month in November 2023: PSA

The used vehicles market in Qatar witnessed a brisk double digit growth month-on-month; while new vehicle sales were on the decline in November 2023 despite a buoyant heavy equipment segment, according to the official statistics.The transfer of ownership was seen in 32,108 vehicles in November 2023, which grew 19.5% on as annualised basis, while it decreased 6.6% month-on-month. It constituted 25% of the clearing of vehicle-related processes in the review period against 24% in October 2023.The renewal of registration was reported in 72,415 units, which shot up 15% year-on-year but shrank 12.6% month-on-month in November 2023. It constituted 57% of the clearing of vehicle-related processes in the review period compared to 58% in October 2023.The clearing of vehicle-related processes stood at 127,353 units, which soared 12.4% on yearly basis but fell 11.1% on an annualised basis in the review period.The number of driving licenses saw a 4.4% month-on-month jump to 9,687 in November 2023 with those issued to non-Qatari males increasing by 1.5%, non-Qatari females by 14.4% and Qatari females by 49.1%; whereas those to Qatari males declined 2.6%.The country witnessed 8,046 new vehicles registered in November 2023, which declined 14.6 and 4.7% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in November 2023.The number of driving licenses saw a 1% month-on-month jump to 9,276 in October 2023 with those issued to non-Qatari males and females increasing by 2.3% and 1.1%; whereas those to Qatari females and males declining 15% and 12.9% respectively.The registration of new private vehicles stood at 5,453; which tanked 10.2% and 12.2% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in November 2023. Such vehicles constituted 68% of the total new vehicles registered in the country in the review period.The registration of new private transport vehicles stood at 1,243, which reported 18% growth month-on-month but was down 6% year-on-year in November 2023. Such vehicles constituted 16% of the total new vehicles in the review period.The new registration of other non-specified vehicles stood at 630 units, which declined 22.4% and 48.2% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in November 2023. These constituted 8% of the total new vehicles registered in the country in the review period.The registration of new private motorcycles stood at 515 units, which zoomed 72.2% on a monthly basis but shrank 4.3% year-on-year in November 2023. These constituted 6% of the total new vehicles in the review period.The registration of new heavy equipment stood at 174, which constituted 2% of the total registrations in November 2023. Their registrations had seen a 13% and 62.6 surge month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in the review period.As many as 31 trailers were registered in November 2023, which plummeted 42.4% on monthly basis but was flat on an annualised basis. These constituted less than 1% of the total new vehicles in the review period.The modified vehicles’ registration stood at 5,552; which grew 1.2% and 85.2% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in November 2023. They constituted 4% of the clearing of vehicle-related processes in the review period.The number of lost/damaged vehicles stood at 5,047 units, which tanked 31.5% and 34% on a monthly and yearly basis respectively in November 2023. They constituted 4% of the clearing of vehicle-related processes in the review period.The number of cancelled vehicles was 2,100; declining 1.8% and 9.6% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in November 2023. They constituted 2% of the clearing of vehicle-related processes in the review period.The number of vehicles meant for exports stood at 1,879 units, which shrank 10.3% month-on-month, even as it more than doubled year-on-year in November 2023. It constituted 1% of the clearing of vehicle-related processes in the review period.The re-registration was done in 129 vehicles, which soared 15.2% and 33% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in November 2023.

The country saw as many as 627 building permits issued in December 2023, which gained 19% year-on-year, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority.
Business
Qatar records 19% yearly jump in building permits issued in December 2023: PSA

The prospects for the real estate and construction sectors in Qatar appear to be brighter in 2024 with building permits issued witnessing double-digit year-on-year growth in December 2023, according to the official estimates.Doha's outskirts displayed opportunities as Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Al Daayen, Al Shamal and Umm Slal municipalities reported higher than average growth in building permits issued in December 2023, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The country saw as many as 627 building permits issued in December 2023, which gained 19% year-on-year.The building permits data is of particular importance as it is considered an indicator for the performance of the construction sector, which occupies a significant position in the national economy.Of the total number of new building permits issued, Al Rayyan constituted 194 permits, 31% of the total; Doha 125 permits (20%), Al Daayen 100 permits (16%), Al Wakra 94 permits (15%), Umm Slal 44 permits (7%), Al Khor 41 permits (7%), Al Shamal 15 permits (2%) and Al Shahaniya 14 permits (2%) in the review period.Total building permits issued in Al Khor soared 115.8% year-on-year this September, Al Rayyan (78%), Al Daayen (31.6%), Al Shamal (25%) and Umm Slal (15.8%); while those in Al Wakra declined 27.7% and Al Shahaniya 22.2%.On a monthly basis, total building permits issued in the country shrank 16% with Al Wakra reporting 25% decline, Al Daayen (23%), Al Shahaniya (22%), Al Rayyan (19%), Umm Slal (14%) and Doha (13%); while those in Al Khor and Al Shamal grew 52% and 15% respectively in December 2023.The new building permits (residential and non-residential) constituted 245 permits or 39% of the total building permits issued in September 2023, additions 368 (59%) and fencing 14 (2%).Of the new residential buildings permits, villas topped the list, accounting for 79% (172 permits), dwellings on housing loans 14% (31), and apartments 7% (16).Among the non-residential sector, the industrial buildings as workshops and factories accounted for 42% (11 permits), commercial structures 38% or 10 permits, other unspecified non-residential 12% or three permits in the review period.Qatar saw a total of 288 building completion certificates issued in December 2023, of which 235 or 82% was for the new buildings (residential and non-residential) and 53 or 18% for additions.The total building completion certificates issued Qatar saw a 14.5% dip on an annualised basis in December 2023 with Al Shamal reporting 80% contraction, Al Daayen (26.9%), Al Rayyan (23.3%), Al Shahaniya (22.2%) and Al Wakra (9.5%).Nevertheless, those issued in Al Khor reported a 44.4% surge, Umm Slal (10.53%) and Doha (8.3%) in the review period.The total building completion certificates issued in the country saw a 20% month-on-month shrinkage in December 2023 with Al Shahaniya registering 36% plunge, Al Rayyan (28%), Al Daayen (24%), Al Wakra (23%), Al Khor (19%) and Umm Slal (5%).However, in the case of Doha, there was a 6% increase; while those in Al Shamal remained flat in the review period.Al Rayyan constituted 69 certificates or 24% of the total number of certificates issued in December 2023, Al Wakra 67 certificates (23%), Al Daayen 57 (20%), Doha 52 (18%), Umm Slal 21 (7%), Al Khor 13 (5%), Al Shahaniya 7 (2%) and Al Shamal 2 (1%) in December 2023.Of the 204 residential buildings completion certificates issued in September 2023, as many as 136 or 76% were for villas, 26 or 14% dwelling on housing loans, 7% or 13 for apartments, and five others.Of the 136 villas completion certificates issued in December 2023, as many as 37 were in Al Daayen, 34 in Al Rayyan, 22 in Doha, 18 in Al Wakra, 14 in Umm Slal, seven in Al Khor, and two each in Al Shamal and Al Shahaniya.In the case of 13 apartments, Doha issued eight completion certificates; three in Al Daayen, and one each in Al Wakra and Al Rayyan in December 2023.

A higher than average selling pressure, especially in the telecom and banking sectors, led the 20-stock Qatar Index knock off 0.64% to 10,416.52 points yesterday
Business
Foreign funds’ selling pressure drags QSE 66 points; M-cap melts QR4bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Tuesday lost more than 66 points, as investors awaited the US inflation data and assessed the timing of potential interest rate cuts by the US.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[124682]**Federal Reserve.A higher than average selling pressure, especially in the telecom and banking sectors, led the 20-stock Qatar Index knock off 0.64% to 10,416.52 points.The foreign institutions were seen net profit takers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 3.32%.The foreign individuals turned bearish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation melted QR4.1bn or 0.67% to QR608.83bn with midcap segments losing the most.The Gulf retail investors were seen net sellers in the main market, which touched an intraday high of 10,495 points.However, the domestic institutions turned bullish in the main bourse, which saw as many as 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan) valued at QR0.02mn trade across two deals.The Gulf funds were also seen net buyers in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index declined faster than the other indices in the main bourse, which witnessed no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 0.64%, the All Islamic Index by 0.72% and the All Share Index by 0.57% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The telecom sector index tanked 2.04%, banks and financial services (0.71%), industrials (0.51%), transport (0.35%) and real estate (0.25%); while insurance gained 0.92% and consumer goods and services 0.09%.As much as 64% of the traded constituents were in the red with major losers being Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Qamco, Ooredoo, Qatar National Cement, Doha Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Lesha Bank, Estithmar Holding, Ezdan and Vodafone Qatar. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Beema, Zad Holding, Inma Holding, Qatari German Medical Devices, Doha Insurance, Meeza and Qatar Insurance were among the gainers in the main market.The foreign institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR30.63mn compared with net buyers of QR20.74mn on January 8.The foreign individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR0.74mn against net buyers of QR1.25mn the previous day.The Gulf retail investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR0.24mn compared with net buyers of QR0.42mn on Monday.However, the domestic institutions were net profit takers to the extent of QR15.49mn against net sellers of QR0.76mn on January 8.The Gulf funds turned net buyers to the tune of QR13.97mn compared with net profit takers of QR8.61mn the previous day.The local retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR2.73mn against net sellers of QR7.78mn on Monday.The Arab individuals’ net profit booking declined noticeably to QR0.57mn compared to QR5.25mn on January 8.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure.Trade volumes in the main market were down 7% to 130.31mn shares, value by 5% to QR379.56mn deals by 15% to 15,179.The venture market saw a 67% plunge in trade volumes to 0.11mn equities, 65% in value to QR0.12mn and 56% in transactions to 12.

Nakilat chief executive officer Abdullah al-Sulaiti and S Y Park, president and chief operating officer of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, shake hands after placing orders for six gas vessels.
Qatar
Nakilat embarks on vessel acquisition drive to meet rising demand

Nakilat, a global leader in liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipping and maritime transportation, has embarked on "strategic" expansion through a significant vessel acquisition by placing order for six gas vessels to meet the increasing demand, thus cementing its position as a global leader in the gas shipping industry.It has placed orders with Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) of South Korea for the construction of two LNG carriers with a cargo capacity of 174,000 cubic meters each and four modern very large LPG (liquefied petroleum gas/ammonia gas carriers) with a substantial cargo capacity of 88,000 cubic meters. These modern vessels are set to be delivered between 2026 and 2027, said the company. Upon delivery, Nakilat's LNG fleet will expand to 71 vessels, and the LPG fleet will grow to eight with the addition of the four new vessels.The greater fleet capacity and increased operational efficiency provide Nakilat,whose LNG carriers account for more than 10% of the global capacity, with a competitive edge as its expands its international shipping portfolio.Nakilat's new LNG carriers and LPG carriers will embody the latest technologies, showcasing advanced environmentally friendly and efficient propulsion systems through fuel-saving devices, reinforcing Nakilat's commitment to sustainable and eco-conscious shipping solutions."Our investment in these advanced vessels reflects our ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional service and environmental stewardship. We strive to meet the increasing demand for safe, reliable, and eco-friendly transportation of gas, contributing to a more sustainable future," said Abdullah al-Sulaiti, Nakilat's chief executive officer.This latest addition to Nakilat's ever-expanding fleet not only signifies an increase in capacity and flexibility for its customers, but also reinforces the company's pioneering role in the energy transportation sector.Once these vessels are operational, they will further cement Nakilat's position as a global leader in the gas shipping and regasification industry.S Y Park, president and chief operating officer of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, said this opportunity will strengthen the ongoing partnership between two companies for the benefit of two countries."We affirm our full commitment to contribute the latest technologies and expertise to ensure safer and more efficient transportation," he said.Highlighting its decades-long relationship with Nakilat, he said it is "looking forward to establishing a closer business link that will enable both parties to take the initiative in leading gas sector."Nakilat’s move comes in the wake of Qatar approving expansion projects that would boost its LNG output by 64%, up to 126mn tonnes per year by 2027. QNB Financial Services (QNBFS) had said in a report that Nakilat could secure a "significant" share of the upcoming North Field ship contract awards.QatarEnergy has already inked major LNG shipbuilding capacity agreements worth more than QR70bn with Chinese and South Korean companies to build more than 100 LNG vessels.

GCC tourists at Souq Waqif. File picture
Qatar
GCC visitors enhance Qatar tourism growth In November: PSA

Qatar's tourism sector witnessed a robust growth month-on-month in November 2023, mainly on substantial jump in visitors from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), other Arab nations and the Europe.However, the country saw a substantial decline in visitors on an annualised basis since November 2022 which had seen increased footfalls in view of the FIFA World Cup, said the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority.The visitor arrivals from the Gulf Co-operation Council or GCC stood at 181,068 or 46% of the total, Europe 79,580 (20%), other Asia (including Oceania) 78,509 (20%), other Arab countries 26,417 (7%), Americas 21,342 (5%), and other African countries 6,325 (2%) in November last year.On a month-on-month basis, the visitor arrivals from the GCC shot up 131.8%, other Arab countries by 12.2% and Europe by 4.6%; whereas those from other African countries declined 12.3%, other Asia (including Oceania) by 4.1% and Americas by 3% in the review period.On an annualised basis, the visitor arrivals from the GCC zoomed 41%, while those from Americas plummeted 84.3%, other Arab countries by 69.1%, other African countries by 54.6%, other Asia (including Oceania) by 31.8% and Europe by 29.8% in November 2023.The period in review painted a gloomy picture for the hotel industry on an annualised basis with rooms' yield plunging substantially despite higher occupancy levels.The decline in revenue-per-available room was owing to an across the board shrinkage, particularly in the five and four-star as well as hotel apartments categories in the review period.The weakened rooms’ yield year-on-year comes amidst 393,241 visitor arrivals, which registered a 33.5% year-on-year decrease but surged 36.1% month-on-month respectively in November 2023.Qatar's hospitality sector overall saw a 71.95% year-on-year plunge in average revenue per available room to QR287 and the average room rate by 77.88% to QR404, even as occupancy improved by 15% to 71% in November 2023.The five-star hotels witnessed the average revenue per available room plummet 72.69% year-on-year to QR373 as average room rate tanked 78.65% to QR554; while the occupancy soared 14% to 67% in the review period.The average revenue per available room in the four-star hotels decreased 71.78% on a yearly basis to QR162 in November 2023 as the average room rate were lower by 76.97% to QR231, but the occupancy zoomed 13% to 70%.The three-star hotels saw a 67.27% year-on-year contraction in average revenue per available room to QR163 as the average room rate shrank more than three-fourth to QR184, even as the occupancy rose 23% to 89% in the review period.The two-star and one-star hotels' average revenue per available room declined 52.66% year-on-year to QR151 last November October as the average room rate tanked 57.81% to QR162, even as the occupancy grew 10% to 93% at the end of November 2023.The deluxe hotel apartments registered a 70.14% year-on-year contraction in average revenue available per room to QR269 in November 2023 as the average room rate dipped 76.59% to QR360, whereas the occupancy was seen jumping 16% to 75% in the review period.In the case of standard hotel apartments, the room yield weakened by 74.48% year-on-year to QR161 as the average room rate tanked 80.52% to QR234; while the occupancy by 16% to 69% in November 2023.

The foreign institutions were increasingly into net buying as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.38% to 10,483.15 points Monday
Business
Foreign funds’ higher net buying pulls QSE up 39 points; M-cap adds QR2bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Monday gained more than 39 points on the back of transport and banking counters..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[124969]**The foreign institutions were increasingly into net buying as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.38% to 10,483.15 points.The foreign retail investors turned net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses stood at 3.21%.The Gulf individuals continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, whose capitalisation added QR1.81bn or 0.3% to QR612.93bn with microcap segments gaining the most.The Gulf funds were increasingly net profit takers in the main market, which regained from an intraday low of 10,438 points.The local individuals were also increasingly into net selling in the main bourse, which saw as many as 5,590 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan) valued at QR0.01mn trade across two deals.The Arab retail investors were seen increasingly bearish in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index underperformed the other indices in the main bourse, which witnessed no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.38%, the All Islamic Index by 0.23% and the All Share Index by 0.41% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover grew amidst lower volumes.The transport sector index gained 0.83%, banks and financial services (0.67%), telecom (0.3%) and real estate (0.08%); while insurance declined 0.16%, consumer goods and services (0.07%) and industrials (0.03%).Major gainers in the main market included Qatar National Cement, Doha Bank, Doha Insurance, Vodafone Qatar, Aamal Company, Qatari Investors Group and Nakilat. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.Nevertheless, Inma Holding, Ahlibank Qatar, Al Khaleej Takaful, Qatari German Medical Devices, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Industries Qatar and Qamco were among the losers in the main market. In the junior bourse, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The foreign institutions’ net buying increased considerably to QR20.74mn compared to QR4.51mn on January 7.The foreign individuals were net buyers to the tune of QR1.25mn against net sellers of QR1.12mn the previous day.However, the Gulf institutions’ net profit booking strengthened substantially to QR8.61mn compared to QR2.05mn on Sunday.The local retail investors’ net selling expanded noticeably to QR7.78mn against QR4.23mn on January 7.The Arab individuals’ net profit booking shot up perceptibly to QR5.25mn compared to QR4.18mn the previous day.The domestic institutions were net seller to the tune of QR0.76mn against net buyers of QR5.38mn on Sunday.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying eased notably to QR0.42mn compared to QR1.7mn on January 7.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure.Trade volumes in the main market were down 4% to 139.89mn shares, while value rose 6% to QR401.51mn deals by 35% to 17,839.The venture market saw a 43% jump in trade volumes to 0.33mn equities, 31% in value to QR0.34mn and 29% in transactions to 27.

Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, QFC Authority chief executive officer.
Business
Qatar records 'solid' non-energy private sector growth in 2023: QFC PMI

Doha's non-energy private sector completed a year of solid overall growth during 2023, even as the business optimism “softened” this year, according to the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).Across 2023 as a whole the PMI (purchasing managers’ index) trended at 52.4, mainly in line with the solid long-run average since 2017 (52.3), according to the latest QFC PMI survey.The PMI registered 49.8 in December, from 51.5 in November. The latest figure was close to the no-change mark of 50.“The final PMI for 2023 signalled the stable business conditions for Qatari non-energy firms; completing a year of solid economic expansion. The survey data for the second half of the year suggest that annual growth in official GDP (gross domestic product) will have been maintained," said QFC Authority chief executive officer Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida.Qatari firms ended 2023 with positive expectations for activity in 2024, although overall confidence was softer than the long-run survey trend, according to the PMI."The business outlook for the year ahead remains positive, although unsurprisingly optimism has softened somewhat compared with the peak seen in the aftermath of the World Cup," according to al-Jaida.The latest PMI survey data from the QFC said volumes of output, new business and backlogs of work were all largely stable compared with November levels, while employment growth was maintained, and the 12-month business outlook remained "positive".The Qatar PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 450 private sector companies. The panel covers manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail, and services sectors, and reflects the structure of the non-energy economy according to official national accounts data.The headline QFC PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of non-energy private sector performance. It is derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases.Of the five components of the headline figure, output, new orders and stocks of purchases registered similar index readings, indicative of stable volumes compared with November. A positive contribution from employment was offset by shorter suppliers' times.Demand for goods and services in Qatar’s non-energy economy were mostly stable in December 2023, completing a year of solid overall growth on average. Firms reported new customers during the month. By sector, manufacturing continued to see comparatively strong new business, as did financial services.Similar to new orders, total activity was broadly unchanged in December since the previous month. Again, financial services remained a source of growth. Meanwhile, the overall level of outstanding business remained stable in December.Qatari firms continued to raise employment in December, extending the current sequence of growth that began in March. Purchases of inputs also rose, albeit only slightly, while suppliers' delivery times shortened.Average input prices rose slightly in December, driven mainly by wages and salaries as purchase prices fell, it said, adding output prices declined marginally again.Financial services remained a key source of growth at the end of the year. Price pressures were still subdued, and supply chains continued to improve.Qatari financial services companies recorded further increases in total business activity and new contracts in December. The seasonally adjusted Financial Services Business Activity Index posted 51.6, still comfortably above the overall private sector figure of 49.6 albeit the lowest in over two years.In terms of prices, average charges set by financial services companies rose to the greatest degree since April, while cost inflation in the sector eased.

The domestic institutions were seen net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index was up 0.1% to 10,443.84 points on Sunday
Business
QSE edges up 10 points amid strong buying in telecom, transport, realty and banking sectors

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) could muster only 10 points despite strong buying interests in the telecom, transport, real estate and banking sectors..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[124682]**The domestic institutions were seen net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index was up 0.1% to 10,443.84 points.The Gulf retail investors were increasingly net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses stood at 3.57%.The Gulf institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main bourse, whose capitalisation added QR2.46bn or 0.4% to QR611.12bn with small cap segments gaining the most.The foreign funds continued to be bullish but with lesser intensity in the main market, which touched an intraday high of 10,494 points.The local individuals were seen net profit takers in the main bourse, which saw as many as 3,972 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.01mn trade across three deals.The Arab retail investors turned bearish in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index underperformed the other indices in the main bourse, which witnessed no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.1%, the All Islamic Index by 0.02% and the All Share Index by 0.28% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover fell amidst marginally higher volumes.The telecom sector index shot up 1.36%, transport (1.35%), real estate (0.86%) and banks and financial services (0.64%); while industrials fell 1.06%, consumer goods and services (0.2%) and insurance (0.07%).Major gainers in the main market included Alijarah Holding, Ezdan, Aamal Company, Lesha Bank, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, QNB, Masraf Al Rayan, Salam International Investment, Mazaya Qatar, United Development Company, Ooredoo, Vodafone Qatar and Milaha. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.Nevertheless, Beema, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Doha Insurance, Qatar Electricity and Water and Gulf Warehousing were among the shakers in the main market. In the junior bourse, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The domestic institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR5.38mn compared with net sellers of QR17.09mn on January 4.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying increased noticeably to QR1.7mn against QR0.18mn the previous day.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking declined substantially to QR2.05mn compared to QR22.91mn last Thursday.However, the local retail investors were net sellers to the extent of QR4.23mn against net buyers of QR14.71mn on January 4.The Arab individuals turned net profit takers to the tune of QR4.18mn compared with net buyers of QR11.81mn the previous day.The foreign individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR1.12mn against net buyers of QR4.39mn last Thursday.The foreign institutions’ net buying weakened perceptibly to QR4.51mn compared to QR8.93mn on January 4.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure.Trade volumes in the main market were up about 1% to 146.31mn shares, while value shrank 16% to QR378.57mn deals by 23% to 13,241.The venture market saw a 27% jump in trade volumes to 0.23mn equities and 18% in value to QR0.26mn but on 9% contraction in transactions to 21.

Highlighting the need for developing a sustainable capital market, the QFMA, which is embarking on a rebranding drive, had identified the initiative of “starting the process of becoming a signatory” to the IOSCO EMMoU.
Business
Qatar is gearing up to become a signatory to IOSCO EMMoU

Doha is gearing up to be a signatory to the enhanced multilateral memorandum of understanding (EMMoU) of the International Organisation of Securities Commission (IOSCO) as part of its “strategic” objectives to develop a sustainable capital market.This was outlined in the fifth strategic objective of enhanced local and international co-operation in the Qatar Financial Market Authority’s (QFMA) recently released Strategic Plan for 2023-27, which has set out six strategic objectives with 63 initiatives.“For every strategic objective, we identified key initiatives,” said the strategic plan, which considered the Third National Development Strategy and Third Financial Sector Strategy.Highlighting the need for developing a sustainable capital market, the QFMA, which is embarking on a rebranding drive, had identified the initiative of “starting the process of becoming a signatory” to the IOSCO EMMoU.The EMMoU is a benchmark for co-operation standards, which encourages and enables co-operation between securities regulators through exchanging information in order to combat securities and derivatives violations with a cross-border element.The QFMA’s other identified initiatives are establishing strategic cooperation with local regulators and other local government entities, activating channels of collaboration through memorandums of understanding and co-operation with regional and international organisations, and increasing co-ordination and co-operation with counterparts in the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) countries.The QFMA also seeks to enter into MoUs and co-operation agreements with well-established international fintech and asset Management hubs as well as create an international resources and research library.To enable future-proof legislations, the QFMA is seeking to determine the legal and regulatory changes (in QFMA and Qatar Central Bank rules) to support the enhancement of the capital market; implement governance codes for financial services companies, companies listed on the main and venture markets, listed funds and entities subject to the authority’s supervision.The initiative aims to develop a framework for fixed-income markets and asset management as well as develop targeted regulations for Green Assets and a framework for Islamic Finance related to the capital market.The QFMA is seeking to establish a Risk Insurance Fund in accordance with Article 53 of Law No 8 of 2012 regarding the QFMA.The QFMA plan aims to develop and execute the digital transformation strategy, adopt the Qatar Financial Centre model on the digital/virtual marketplace, and consider future implementation.It is also considering robotic advisory for asset management and supporting the creation and innovation of the private companies market.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar figures among most affordable tax-free countries to relocate in 2024

Qatar has figured among the ‘most affordable’ tax-free countries to relocate in 2024, according to research findings of William Russell, which specialises in expat insurance."Coming in seventh and making yet another appearance for the Middle East is Qatar, earning a relocation score of 5.6 out of 10," said the report.The country has a population of approximately 2.7mn. A one-way economy ticket to the country’s capital, Doha, will cost expats around $356 from London and $551 from New York, it said.On an average, buying an apartment in Qatar, costs around $403 per sq m."It is the fourth most affordable tax-free country for monthly utilities, costing approximately $112. The average monthly net salary in Qatar is $4,327," the report said.Oman is the most affordable tax-free country to relocate to in 2024, with a relocation score of 7.92.Oman is the cheapest country to purchase or rent an apartment, as it has the lowest monthly living costs. It is also the third cheapest country for monthly utility bills, costing around $103.Another Gulf country Kuwait is the second most affordable tax-free country to move to this year, with a relocation score of 6.49. It is also the second most affordable country for both monthly costs and utility bills.Bahrain ranks in third place as the most affordable tax-free country to relocate to in 2024, earning a relocation score of 6.36.Bahrain is the second cheapest country to purchase an apartment in, costing $173 per sq m, on average. It is also the fifth most affordable country for both monthly costs and utility bills.The UAE was ranked as the fourth most affordable tax-free country, with monthly costs of around $959, while the average monthly net salary is around $3,474.William Russell said besides insurance, expatriates also need to consider various other costs, such as flights, rent, and utility bills.In fifth place is Brunei, earning a relocation score of 5.58/10. The country is a tiny nation in Asia and has a population of almost 454,000 people. A one-way economy ticket to the country’s capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, will cost expats around $942 from London and $1,236 from New York.Brunei is the second cheapest country to rent an apartment, costing around $492 per month, on average. It is also the second most affordable country for both monthly costs and utility bills, joint with Kuwait. The average monthly net salary in Brunei is $1,715.The Maldives is the sixth most affordable tax-free country, receiving a relocation score of 5.32/10. The country is located in South Asia and has a population of approximately 518,700 people. Expats can expect to pay around $530 for a one-way economy ticket from London to the country’s capital, Malé. Those flying from New York can expect to pay around $722 for the same ticket.The Maldives is the third cheapest country to both buy and rent an apartment in, costing around $197 per sq m and $740 per month respectively. It is also the third cheapest tax-free country in terms of monthly costs, with expats having around $791 worth of expenses each month. The average monthly net salary in the Maldives is $926.

Quoting Bloomberg consensus estimates, Kamco has said the lending rate in Qatar is expected to be slashed by 1.56% to 4.69% by end-2024. The move could greatly help the private sector, which is on its path of recovery, as reflected from the Qatar Financial Centre's purchasing managers' index surveys. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Business
QCB seen to cut repo rate by 1.56% this year: Kamco Invest

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is expected to cut repo rate by 1.56% or 156 basis points in 2024 with the end of year rate reaching 4.44%, according to Kamco Invest.Quoting Bloomberg consensus estimates, Kamco also said the lending rate in Qatar is expected to be slashed by 1.56% to 4.69% by end-2024.The move could greatly help the private sector, which is on its path of recovery, as reflected from the Qatar Financial Centre's purchasing managers' index surveys.Qatar had seen a 0.75% hike in repo rate to 6% in 2023. Since January 2022, there has been a 5% increase in repo rate in the country.The QCB had been maintaining that it would continue to assess economic conditions, taking into account all aspects that may affect financial stability and will review its monetary policy when necessary to address any changes in economic requirements.Finding that the trend in interest rates in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) is almost in line with the US Federal Reserve, the Kamco report said for the region, "we have forecasted rates based on US Fed rate cuts."As a result, most central banks in the GCC would slash rates in line with the US Fed due to the pegged currencies, even as Kuwait has its currency pegged to a basket of currencies.Forecasting a 1% cut by the Kuwait Central Bank in its discount rate, it said this is lower than the cuts in the rest of the GCC countries as Kuwait has made the smallest aggregate rate hike in the GCC since 2022 (275 bps) and since the start of the year (75 bps)."We believe that the roll back of rates would also be smaller than the rest of the GCC," the report said.On the international front, it said the consensus estimates on policy rates by major central banks shows cuts across the globe in 2024, ranging from over 200bps to 50bps.The Fed is forecasted to lower rates by 156bps in 2024 with end of year rates to be at 3.82%. The eurozone is slated to make "more aggressive" rate cuts, slashing policy rates by 219bps with end of year rates reaching 2.31%.Similarly, the UK, Canada and New Zealand are forecasted to lower rates by around 100bps this year.The slowing inflation seen over the last few months have "drastically" altered investor and trader’s expectation for the fixed income market, it said.The last meeting of the year was instrumental in changing the rate cut/pause forecasts for 2024.From a scattered expectation of one or two hikes in 2024 during the later half of the year just a few months ago, the consensus forecast now shows at least 150bps cuts during 2024, according to Kamco.Some economists see earlier rate cuts in the US as against second half of 2024 cuts as per previous expectations.

Qatar's maritime sector saw strong growth in general and bulk cargo movement through Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports in 2023, according according to Mwani Qatar.
Business
Qatar ports post strong y-o-y growth in general and bulk cargoes during 2023

Qatar's maritime sector saw strong growth in general and bulk cargo movement through Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports in 2023, according to official data.The positive yearly growth in the vital parameter corroborates the Qatar Financial Centre's purchasing managers' index that painted a rosy picture for the non-energy private sector amidst rising global interest rates and inflation.The general cargo handled through three ports stood at 1.77mn freight tonnes during 2023, which registered a 10.63% surge year-on-year (y-o-y), according to Mwani Qatar.Hamad Port – whose multi-use terminal is designed to serve the supply chains for the RORO (vehicles), grains and livestock –handled 1.3mn freight tonnes of break bulk and 400,478 freight tonnes of bulk during 2023.The general and bulk cargo through the three ports was the highest in March 2023 when it was 297,009 freight tonnes and the lowest in June 2023 when it was 21,688 freight tonnes.The three ports were seen handling 443,996 livestock heads during 2023, which zoomed 115.94% on a yearly basis. Hamad Port alone handled 9,301 livestock heads during the review period.The livestock movement through three ports recorded the highest at 70,182 heads in April 2023 and the lowest at 5,468 heads in July 2023.The building materials handled amounted to 528,428 tonnes during 2023, showing a 2.24% jump on an annualised basis.The rebound of business activities, especially in the construction sector, corroborates the rising trends in the movement of building materials through the ports.The building materials traffic witnessed the maximum of 62,456 tonnes in May 2023 and the lowest of 23,422 tonnes in November 2023.The three ports were seen handling 81,036 vehicles (RORO) during 2023, which registered a 2.01% increase year-on-year. Hamad Port alone handled 80,294 units during 2023.The Planning and Statistics Authority data reveals robust year-on-year growth in the registration of new vehicles for private use and private motorcycles, trailers and heavy equipment during majority of the months in 2023.The RORO movement through three ports reached the maximum of 8,339 units in December 2023 and the lowest of 5,656 units in November 2023.As many as 2,769 ships had called on Qatar's three ports during 2023, which showed fell 8.64% over 2022.Hamad Port, whose strategic geographical location offers opportunities to create cargo movement towards the upper Gulf, supporting countries such as Kuwait and Iraq and south towards Oman, witnessed as many as 1,655 ships call during 2023.Qatar Chamber's monthly reports by and large suggest the country's foreign trade and private sector’s exports have been showing promising results.The maximum number of ships berthed was 266 in September 2023 and the lowest of 197 in June 2023.The container handling through the three ports stood at 1.33mn TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) during 2023, registering a 7.64% contraction year-on-year. Hamad Port, which is the largest eco-friendly project in the region and internationally recognised as one of the largest green ports in the world, alone saw 1.32mn TEUs of containers handling during 2023.The container movement recorded the maximum of 125,202 TEUs in November 2023 and the lowest of 95,317 in May 2023.

A general view of the Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar's principal site for the production of liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids (file). Energy-rich Qatar saw an about 2% month-on-month jump in the shipments of petroleum gases other gaseous hydrocarbons (liquefied natural gas, condensates, propane and butane) as the country registered a trade surplus of QR16.73bn in November 2023, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority.
Business
Qatar posts 2% monthly rise in exports of petroleum gases as trade surplus reaches QR17bn in November 2023

Energy-rich Qatar saw an about 2% month-on-month jump in the shipments of petroleum gases other gaseous hydrocarbons (liquefied natural gas, condensates, propane and butane) as the country registered a trade surplus of QR16.73bn in November 2023, according to official estimates.The Asia region accounted for more than 62% of shipments of Qatar, whose total exports (valued free on board) stood at QR26.53bn, while the total imports (cost, insurance and freight) amounted to QR9.8bn in the review period, said the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority.However, the trade surplus shrank 12.1% and 36.3% month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in November 2023.The country's total exports of domestic goods amounted to QR25.56bn, which however declined 29.7% and 9.1% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in November 2023.The country’s exports of petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons were valued at QR16.64bn, which rose 1.6% on a monthly basis in November 2023.However, the exports of crude shrank 41.5% on a monthly basis to QR3.72bn, other commodities by 3.7% to QR2.85bn and non-crude by 2.9% to QR2.36bn in November 2023.On an annualised basis, the exports of petroleum gases were seen declining 32.6%, crude by 28.9%, other commodities by 23.7% and non-crude by 12.7% in the review period.The share of petroleum gases in the country's total export basket was seen declining substantially on an annualised basis, while those of crude and non-crude increased in the review period.Petroleum gases accounted for 65.1% of the total exports compared to 67.93% a year-ago period, crude 14.55% (14.41%), non-crude 9.23% (7.43%) and others 11.15% (10.26%).In November 2023, Qatar's shipments to China amounted to QR5.42bn or 20.4% of the total exports of the country, followed by India QR3.66bn (13.8%), Japan QR2.8bn (10.6%), South Korea QR2.6bn (9.8%) and Singapore QR1.91bn (7.1%).On a yearly basis, Qatar's exports to South Korea fell 36.07%, China 22.81%, India 14.69%, Japan 2.95% and Singapore 1.57% in November 2023.On a monthly basis, the country's exports to China shrank 11.32% and Singapore 9.93%; whereas those to Japan surged 27.62%, India by 4.12% and South Korea by 3.74% in the review period.Qatar's total imports showed a 2.6% and 10.1% decrease on yearly and monthly basis respectively in November 2023.The country's imports from China amounted to QR5.42bn or 20.4% of the total imports; followed by India QR3.66bn (13.8%), Japan QR2.8bn (10.6%), South Korea QR2.6bn (9.8%) and Singapore QR1.88bn (7.1%) in the review period.On a yearly basis, the country's imports from the US declined 27.39%, India by 25.85% and China by 8.11%; while those from Italy shot up 22.61% and Germany by 7.71% in November 2023.On a monthly basis, Qatar's imports from India and China tanked 27.86% and 13.45%; whereas those from Germany, Italy and the US grew 50.9%, 28.77% and 3.02% respectively in the review period.In November 2023, the group of "Turbojets, Turbo propellers and Other Gas Turbines; Parts Thereof" was at the top of the imported group of commodities and valued at QR1bn, which showing an annual increase of 47.9%.In second place was "Motor Cars & Other Motor Vehicles for The Transport of Persons”, with QR0.39bn, which however declined 3.4% year-on-year in November 2023.The "Electrical Apparatus for Line Telephony/Telegraphy, Telephone Sets Etc. and parts thereof" group saw imports of QR0.36bn, which fell 4.7% on an annualised basis in November 2023.

Aided by strong demand, especially in the telecom, insurance, industrials and banking counters, the 20-stock Qatar Index vaulted 1.4% and capitalisation added QR16bn in 2023, which saw the third financial sector strategy take a holistic view to make Qatar's capital market lead the region by improving liquidity and velocity through enhanced regulatory framework, state-of-the art infrastructure, including electronic trading platforms and cloud computing.
Business
High performance trading system, spate of listings, foreign ownership up to 100% hog limelight in 2023

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), which launched a new and high-performing trading platform built on the same advanced technology used by many global capital markets,.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[110238]**was seen kick-starting the process of shortening the settlement cycle and widening the ambit of stocks eligible for margin trading, liquidity provision and covered short-selling as it bids adieu to 2023, which ended on a high note. The stock market, where foreign funds typically account for 30-40% of average daily turnover, was volatile since the start of 2023 mainly on global inflation, oil price decline and the hardening interest rates in the US, which is now on a 22-year high. However, the latter part, especially in the last two months, expectations ran high on rate cuts in the US by early 2024, which overall made the QSE land in a positive trajectory in 2023 with the Gulf and foreign funds turning overall net buyers, even as domestic institutions and local retail investors remained net sellers.Aided by strong demand, especially in the telecom, insurance, industrials and banking counters, the 20-stock Qatar Index vaulted 1.4% and capitalisation added QR16bn in 2023, which saw the third financial sector strategy take a holistic view to make Qatar's capital market lead the region by improving liquidity and velocity through enhanced regulatory framework, state-of-the art infrastructure, including electronic trading platforms and cloud computing.The year 2023 witnessed the country's first initial public offering through book-building, launch of an electronic platform for the listed companies to arrange annual general assembly of shareholders, hordes of companies relaxing the foreign ownership limit (FOL) up to 100% and Qatar Development Bank agreeing to finance up to QR4.6mn or 70% of the listing fees of every eligible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) wishing to get listed on the venture market.The QSE, which migrated to Millennium, a new trading system based upon the London Stock Exchange Group's financial markets product suite, saw the involvement of the country's sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority in market making, a spate of listings and the restructuring of its board.The new trading system - a multi-asset, multi-market, trading platform designed for resiliency, high performance, and ultra-low latency - offers out-of-the-box trading solutions for equity, fixed-income, and derivative instruments on a single robust platform that meets standard trading requirements off-the-shelf, leading to reduced time-to-market and lower implementation risk.Having put in place a new trading mechanism, the Qatari bourse is all set to move into a T+2 settlement cycle compared to T+3. The initiative is in line with international best practices in regional and international markets, to achieve efficiency, and reduce the risks of long settlement period.Effective from March 2024, the QSE will move to 'T+2', a move that will help investors receive their cash faster and substantially reduce the operational and counterparty risks. A key industry demand has been to shorten the settlement cycle in view of Qatar having the necessary enablers such as the market and technological infrastructure, especially after trading started in new platform."The QSE is embarking on the next stage of its strategy, developing organically, with an increasing breadth of products and services for the local, regional, and global investor bases. We have, for example, gradually lifted FOLs across our market such that in most of the blue-chip companies FOL’s are now at 100%,” QSE acting chief executive officer Abdul Aziz Nasser al-Emadi had said.The year saw FOL being increased up to 100% in Mekdam Holding, Nakilat, Industries Qatar, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Electricity and Water, Milaha, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Qatar Insurance, Doha Insurance, Ezdan and Qatar National Cement.The year saw the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) for the first time issue new rules for the dividend distribution in the financial markets. The new rules include substantial changes in the mechanisms of annual dividend distribution to shareholders in public shareholding companies listed on the QSE and include regulating the interim dividend distribution (quarterly, semi-annually) for companies wishing to do so.2023 was witness to the listing of Beema, Dukhan Bank and Meeza in the main market, and Mahhar Holding in the venture market. The stock market universe has now 51 listed entities in the main market with a total market capitalisation of QR625bn at the end of 2023 with large and small cap segments witnessing the maximum gains.The main market has 13 within banks and financial services group, 12 within consumer goods and services, 10 within industrials, seven within insurance, four within real estate, two within telecom and three within transport sector.The year witnessed Mekdam Holding, which made debut in the capital market with a listing on the venture market, migrate to the main market. It also saw Al Mahhar Holding receive approval from the QFMA to transfer its shares to the main bourse.The second half of 2023 saw QSE launch covered short selling as well as securities lending and borrowing (SLB) activities, as part of its reforms to make the market more liquid and attractive for the investors, especially foreign.The year also saw the QFMA launch the single window E-Portal, aimed at modernising the country’s capital market by easing and streamlining the listing process as it significantly simplifies the procedures by limiting their dealings with only one entity instead of other competent authorities separately, including QFMA, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, QSE, and Edaa (formerly Qatar Central Securities Depository Company).“The new procedures like book building and direct listing will attract more companies to the Qatari market,” al-Emadi had said during the listing of Beema.The year saw the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) develop and issue a new regulatory framework for the listed derivatives. The launch of the Derivatives Markets and Exchanges Rules 2023 (DMEX) means that the regulatory framework is now in place in the QFC to allow for the establishment of a derivatives exchange and also a central clearing counterparty to ensure efficient settlement of trades and management of settlement risk.In the Capital Market Report 2020, the QFC had suggested creating a derivatives market, initially offering single-stock futures contracts, as part of the key recommendations for the country’s capital market development."The QFCRA looks forward to working with the QSE to launch the new exchange. The derivatives exchange will provide opportunities for investors to better manage and diversify their portfolios, and it will also provide local and regional financial institutions and brokers new opportunities to grow and expand their business with clients,” according to Michael Ryan, QFCRA’s chief executive officer.The year saw QSE and the QDB enter into a joint collaboration to facilitate the listing of SMEs on the QSE’s Venture Market. The beneficiaries will be charged a profit rate of up to 5% as per the bank’s schedule of charges, QDB said, adding the tenure of the funding would be a maximum period of six years and a grace period up to 18 months upon the listing.With the addition of the QEVM to the product suite, QSE would provide young and entrepreneurial entities a customised route to market to ensure they have access to the necessary funds and thus contribute to Qatar’s economy, sources in the bourse said, adding it (QEVM) will be a value proposition for investors as well due to enhanced range of investment choices.The year also saw QSE sign pact with Saudi Tadawul and the country's capital market establish a single window committee to ease and streamline the listing process and regional bourses announce a unified environment, social and governance (ESG) metrics for the Gulf Co-operation Council listed companies.At the fag end of 2023, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), in collaboration with Edaa, put in place an electronic platform for arranging the annual general assembly of the listed companies as part of efforts to effectively enhance shareholder participation.This initiative aligns with the ministry's efforts to facilitate investment and commercial activities in the country by removing barriers for investors, safeguarding them from unfair practices.As the QSE steps into 2024, plans are afoot to deepen the financial offerings, including more equities as well as debt and ESG (environment, social and governance) bonds.

Gulf Times
Business
GCC sees 'significant' jump in international bond issuances in 2023: IMF

The international bond issuances from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region have increased "significantly" in 2023, reflecting relatively strong economic performance, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).More than half of the new issuance was by sovereigns (41%) and SWFs or sovereign wealth funds (14%), and Saudi Arabia was the main issuer, accounting for 64% of the total.The issuances so far this year have already exceeded the total issuances in 2022. Bahrain issued international bonds and sukuk in 2021 ($4.50bn total, about 10% of GDP) and the UAE also received relatively large, syndicated loans in 2023 accounting for about 5% of their GDP."The GCC countries have also been faring better than EMs (emerging markets) in terms of bond flows through ETFs (exchange traded funds) and mutual funds since 2023, although the cumulative flows have become negative since the second half of August.Stressing on the need to pursue sound debt management strategies, it said the Gulf countries should focus on further lengthening debt maturities, reducing refinancing costs, pre-financing and lowering debt when conditions are favourable, as well as building a deep and liquid domestic debt market. "Efforts to assess and monitor contingent liabilities should be strengthened further," it said.Plans to develop a framework for assessing and monitoring guarantees and other potential contingent liabilities linked to increased private sector participation, including through public-private partnerships, are important steps towards sound fiscal risk management practices.Improved coordination among fiscal authorities (central and local governments, SOEs, and SWFs), especially as entities that are not strictly part of the central government play a "significant" role in domestic investment strategies, would help to improve cash flow management and forecasting (including through treasury single accounts) and strengthen risk management practices.Highlighting that reserve accumulation and net foreign asset positions are expected to improve further in 2023, the report said the GCC gross forex reserves have increased marginally in 2022 to 19.2% of GDP, while a large part of the oil windfall was accumulated abroad, including by SWFs and SOEs. Nonetheless, reserves remain adequate as they average 8.3 month of imports cover (around 100% of IMF’s reserve adequacy metric)."There is an indication that some part of the windfall is being repatriated in 2023 to finance investment projects," it said. Despite strong growth and financial inflows, it said few GCC countries remain "vulnerable" to external shocks, as gross financing needs for Bahrain remain elevated through the medium term.Positive external spillovers from the GCC countries include the recovery of outward remittance flows and increased GCC financial support to vulnerable countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP) region, according to the report.Noting that exchange rate pegs remain "appropriate" nominal anchors for monetary policy given the GCC countries’ economic structures, it said these fixed rate regimes have continued to deliver relatively "low and stable" consumer price index (CPI) inflation across the GCC.Strong external positions support the pegs, and fiscal consolidation and competitiveness-enhancing reforms going forward should maintain external stability.Nonetheless, GCC central banks should continue to regularly review their exchange rate pegs to ensure that they remain appropriate, it said, adding reforms to strengthen monetary policy frameworks and transmission mechanisms should continue to support transitions to more independent monetary policy regimes in the future should this become appropriate.These include deepening the money and debt markets by issuing more sovereign debt across maturities (as necessary), further developing financial market infrastructure, and continuing to strengthen liquidity management and forecasting.The latter will require better high-frequency data to calibrate interventions, appropriate government forecasts of revenue and expenditure, enhanced coordination between central banks and fiscal authorities, as well as regular exchanges of information with the SWFs and development banks/funds in view of the large impact of their interventions on the economy.

The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up 2.96% this week which saw Qatar launch an electronic platform for arranging the general assemblies of the listed companies as part of efforts to enhance shareholder participation effectively
Business
QSE key index soars 305 points; M-cap adds QR15bn

Rising expectations on the US rate hike by early next year and higher oil prices had their reflection in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), whose index gained as much as 305 points.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[120870]**and capitalisation added QR15bn this week.The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up 2.96% this week which saw Qatar launch an electronic platform for arranging the general assemblies of the listed companies as part of efforts to enhance shareholder participation effectively.The domestic funds were also increasingly bullish this week which saw Petrotec, an Al Mahhar Holding subsidiary, win three major contracts for upgrade of electrical installations in Qatar.The Arab individuals turned net buyers this week which saw Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding shareholders to receive a second and last tranche of free incentive shares.As much as 73% of the traded constituents extended gains to investors in the main market this week which saw a total of 0.4mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.92mn trade across 64 deals.The foreign individuals’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main bourse this week which saw this week which saw as many as 0.01mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange-traded fund QETF valued at QR0.06mn change hands across 10 transactions.However, the local retail investors were increasingly net sellers in the main market this week, which saw the Qatar Central Bank suggest incentives to bigtech and fintech entities for facilitating their entry into the country.The Islamic index outperformed other indices in the main bourse this week which saw the banks and industrials together constitute about 66% of the total trade volumes.Market capitalisation was seen adding QR15.09bn or 2.53% to QR611.84bn on the back of large and midcap segments this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.Trade volumes and turnover were on the increase in both the main bourse and venture market this week, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index zoomed 2.96%, the All Share Index by 2.82% and the All Islamic Index by 3.02% this week.The insurance sector index shot up 7.07%, telecom (4.29%), industrials (2.89%), banks and financial services (2.8%), consumer goods and services (2.33%), real estate (2.26%) and transport (0.17%) this week.Major gainers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Doha Bank, MPHC, Qatar Insurance, Qatar Oman Investment, Commercial Bank, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Woqod, Mannai Corporation, Qatar Electricity and Water, Industries Qatar, Qamco, Barwa, Ooredoo, Vodafone Qatar and Nakilat. In the venture market, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares appreciate in value this week.Nevertheless, Ahlibank Qatar, Dlala, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Milaha, Salam International Investment and Qatari Investors Group were among the losers in the main market. In the junior bourse, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value this week.The foreign funds’ net buying increased substantially to QR462.04mn compared to QR165.49mn the week ended December 21.The domestic institutions’ net buying strengthened significantly to QR304.79mn against QR31.25mn the previous week.The Arab individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR1.47mn compared with net sellers of QR13.54mn a week ago.The foreign individuals’ net selling declined markedly to QR1.52mn against QR15.11mn the week ended December 21.However, the Gulf institutions’ net selling expanded considerably to QR532.11mn compared to QR73.28mn the previous week.The local retail investors’ net profit booking grew drastically to QR228.95mn against QR93.32mn a week ago.The Gulf retail investors’ net selling zoomed perceptibly to QR5.05mn compared to QR1.47mn the week ended December 21.The Arab institutions’ net profit booking rose marginally to QR0.67mn against QR0.02mn the previous week.The main market witnessed a 97% surge in trade volumes to 994.55mn shares and value more than doubled to QR3.73bn on doubled deals to 112,591 this week.In the venture market, trade volumes more than doubled to 2.33mn equities and value more than doubled to QR2.44mn on more than doubled transactions to 235.

The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.64% to 10,531.19 points.
Business
Across the board buying lifts QSE above 10,500 level; M-cap adds QR4.49bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Wednesday gained more than 67 points and its key index surpassed the 10,500 levels on an across the board buying, reflecting the global sentiments on expected rate cuts in the US, beginning early next year..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[110238]**The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.64% to 10,531.19 points.The insurance, transport, telecom and consumer goods counters saw higher than average demand in the main market, whose year-to-date losses truncated further to 1.4%.The foreign individual investors were increasingly bullish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation added QR4.49bn or 0.74% to QR607.47bn with midcap segments gaining the most.The Arab retail investors’ lower net selling had its influence on the main market, which regained from an intraday low of 10,440 points.The Gulf individuals’ weakened net profit booking also had its say in the main bourse, which saw as many as 0.1mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.24mn trade across 19 deals.The domestic institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index underperformed the other indices in the main bourse, which witnessed no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was up 0.64%, the All Islamic Index by 0.43% and the All Share Index by 0.76% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The insurance sector index shot up 2.34%, followed by transport (1.7%), telecom (1.19%), consumer goods and services (0.98%), real estate (0.86%), banks and financial services (0.6%) and industrials (0.39%).Major gainers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Doha Bank, Qatar Insurance, Beema, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, QNB, Qatar Oman Investment, Woqod, Al Khaleej Takaful, Barwa, Ooredoo, Milaha and Nakilat.Nevertheless, Ahlibank Qatar, Salam International Investment, Qatar Islamic Insurance, Qatar Islamic Bank and Gulf International Services were among the losers in the main market.In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mahhar Holding saw their shares depreciate in value.The foreign institutions’ net buying increased significantly to QR80.85mn compared to QR59.29mn on December 26.The foreign individual investors’ net buying grew perceptibly to QR3.52mn against QR2.88mn the previous day.The Arab institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.01mn compared with no major net exposure on Tuesday.The Arab retail investors’ net profit booking weakened markedly to QR0.57mn against QR3.24mn on December 26.The Gulf individuals’ net selling shrank noticeably to QR1.16mn compared to QR2.21mn the previous day.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking eased marginally to QR104.15mn against QR104.52mn on Tuesday.However, the local retail investors’ net selling expanded drastically to QR54.08mn compared to QR33.88mn on December 26.The domestic institutions’ net buying declined notably to QR75.52mn against QR81.69mn the previous day.Trade volumes in the main market grew 21% to 155.74mn shares, value by 47% to QR738.2mn and deals by 94% to 29,221.The venture market saw a 59% plunge in trade volumes to 0.12mn equities, 47% in value to QR0.17mn and 36% in transactions to 21.