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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal, a postgraduate in Econometrics with an advance qualification in Capital Markets and Financial Services, is Gulf Times' journalist. His coverage areas are debt and equity, hydrocarbons, international trade, environment, banks, insurance and real estate. Previously, he was in New Delhi, India as Senior Finance Correspondent of PTI.
Gulf Times
Qatar
Qatar's medium-term growth to average 5.5%: IMF

Qatar's medium-term growth is expected to average around 5.5%, boosted by significant LNG (liquefied natural gas) production expansion (65% by 2028) and the initial reform gains from implementing the third National Development Strategy (NDS3), according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).As global commodity prices decline and domestic demand normalises, headline inflation is to moderate to around 2% over the medium terms against the projected below 3% in 2023, said the IMF after concluding its Article IV consultation with Qatar.Highlighting that the fiscal and current accounts will likely remain in "sizeable" surplus, the Bretton Wood's institution said hydrocarbon prices are likely to stay elevated, albeit declining over the medium term."Qatar’s LNG production expansion, combined with increasing demand from Asia and Europe, is set to boost LNG export over the medium term," it said.Amid high hydrocarbon prices, both fiscal and current account positions strengthened significantly in 2022, with surpluses reaching 10.5% of GDP (gross domestic product) and 26.5% of GDP, respectively.Finding that risks are broadly "balanced"; it said maintaining prudent macroeconomic policy and intensifying reform efforts will support Qatar’s resilience to shocks and accelerate its economic transformation.The IMF suggested that the fiscal strategy should balance discipline with growth in the near term and facilitate the transition to more diversified, private sector-led growth over the medium term.If downside risks to growth materialise and the ongoing growth slowdown sharpens, some fiscal space could be deployed through productive and efficient spending, while maintaining broad fiscal prudence, according to the IMF."In the medium term, fiscal strategy should aim at sustaining prudent and countercyclical policy, accelerating revenue diversification including via VAT (value added tax) introduction, enhancing current expenditure efficiency by rationalising wage bill and gradually removing remaining subsidies, and reorienting expenditure from traditional infrastructure to reforms that facilitate transformation to a private sector-led growth model," it said.A medium-term fiscal framework anchored around maintaining intergenerational equity, complemented by greater fiscal transparency, would support the implementation of the fiscal strategy, it added.Qatar’s medium-term fiscal strategy should be underpinned by sustained prudence, accelerated revenue diversification and enhanced spending composition and efficiency, it said, forecasting that the central government debt is projected to gradually decline to close to 30% of GDP by 2028.On the need to intensify reform efforts to shift from a traditional state-led growth model to a more dynamic, knowledge-based, private sector-driven one; the IMF said attracting more skilled expatriates, improving education outcome, incentivising Qatari nationals to take up private sector jobs, and raising female labour force participation will enhance human capital and labour market dynamics.Highlighting the need to promote further trade liberalisation, ease access to finance, and continue enhancing administrative efficiency; it said these measures should be implemented comprehensively in a well-sequenced manner to boost potential growth.Furthering digitalisation and climate actions are also critical, it said, adding broadening gains from economic zones and centers to the wider economy would accelerate economic diversification.Qatar’s decade-long efforts to diversify the economy culminated into the successful hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. After very strong performance in 2022 on the back of World Cup-induced buoyancy and high hydrocarbon prices, growth has been normalising, with real GDP growth in 2023 projected at 1.6%."Growth normalisation is expected to continue in the near term, with non-hydrocarbon growth supported by investment in public projects, construction of the North Field LNG expansion project, and their spillovers to logistics, manufacturing, and trade," IMF said.

The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.14% to 9,901.23 points
Business
Buying interests in realty and banking lift QSE 14 points; M-cap adds QR2.19bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday snapped eight days of bearish spell and its key index rose as much as 14 points on the back of buying interests, especially in the real estate.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[130236]**and banking counters.The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.14% to 9,901.23 points.As much as 51% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main market, whose year-to-date losses truncated to 8.58%.The Gulf institutions’ weakened net profit booking had its influence on the main bourse, whose capitalisation added QR2.19bn or 0.38% to QR577.69bn with midcap segments leading the pack of shakers.The domestic funds’ lower net selling also had its say in the main market, which saw as many as 0.18mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.05mn trade across six deals.The local individuals continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index grew faster than the main index in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index rose 0.14%, the All Share Index by 0.26% and the All Islamic Index by 0.2% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The realty sector index shot up 1.03%, banks and financial services (0.69%), telecom (0.12%) and industrials (0.06%); while transport declined 1.71%, consumer goods and services (0.43%) and insurance (0.01%).Major movers in the main market included Mannai Corporation, Al Meera, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Insurance, Qatar Islamic Insurance, QNB, Dukhan Bank, Salam International Investment, Qatar National Cement and Barwa.Nevertheless, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Doha Insurance, Qatar Oman Insurance, QLM, Nakilat, Doha Bank, Baladna, Qatar Electricity and Water, Gulf International Services and Milaha were among the shakers in the main bourse.In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The foreign institutions’ net buying expanded marginally to QR25.46mn compared to QR24.78mn on February 5.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking decreased substantially to QR23.42mn against QR40.15mn the previous day.The domestic institutions’ net selling weakened considerably to QR6.14mn compared to QR20.92mn on Monday.However, the Arab institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR0.13mn against no major net exposure on February 5.The Arab individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR0.09mn compared with net buyers of QR2.46mn the previous day.The local individual investors’ net buying declined drastically to QR0.81mn against QR25.07mn on Monday.The foreign retail investors’ net buying shrank markedly to QR3.02mn compared to QR5.96mn on February 5.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying eased perceptibly to QR0.49mn against QR2.81mn the previous day.Trade volumes in the main market fell 14% to 101.22mn shares, value by 17% to QR329.68mn and deals by 5% to 14,778.The venture market saw 46% contraction in trade volumes to 0.13mn equities, 45% in value to QR0.18mn and 59% in transactions to 15.

Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive officer of QFC Authority.
Business
Qatar's non-energy private sector opens 2024 on strong note: QFC PMI

Doha's non-energy private sector opened 2024 on a stronger note with improved business conditions as output volumes and new businesses were higher against the December 2023 levels, reflecting the positive momentum brought about by the ongoing AFC Asian Cup, according to the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).All four price indicators - overall input prices, staff costs, purchase prices and output prices - declined and supply chains continued to improve and financial services showed signs of cooling with "stable" levels of both activity and new work, according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey data from the QFC.“The first batch of PMI data for 2024 signalled improving business conditions for the Qatari non-energy firms, following a solid economic expansion in 2023," said Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive officer of QFC Authority.Of the five components of the headline figure, output, new orders and employment all registered above 50.0 index readings in January, indicative of month-on-month expansions. These were partly offset by shorter suppliers' delivery times and a reduction in input stocks at non-energy private sector firms.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.The PMI registered 50.4 in January, up from 49.8 in December. The latest figure was above the no-change mark of 50.0 and thereby signalled improving business conditions in the non-energy private sector economy.The Qatar PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 450 private sector companies. The panel covers the manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail, and services sectors, and reflects the structure of the non-energy economy according to official national accounts data.Demand conditions in Qatar's non-energy economy grew in the first month of 2024, building on solid growth on average across 2023, the QFC said."Firms that reported greater sales cited new customers, promotional campaigns, competitive pricing and tourism related to the AFC Asian Cup. The renewed rise in demand contributed to a brighter 12-month outlook than at the end of 2023," the survey results said."Demand was strong enough to generate an increase in outstanding business, only the second occurrence of rising backlogs over the past year-and-a-half," al-Jaida said.Qatari firms continued to raise employment, extending the current sequence of growth to 11 months, the findings said, adding purchases of inputs fell for the first time over the same period, however, as firms reported sufficient inventory levels.Input stocks fell the most since November 2022. This further alleviated pressure on supply chains, as lead times shortened for the twenty-first successive month, it said.The PMI said average input prices fell in January, driven by both wages and purchase costs. Output prices fell for the third straight month, and the most since last June.Highlighting that Qatari financial services companies recorded broadly stable volumes of total business activity and new contracts in January; it said the seasonally adjusted financial services business activity and new business indexes posted 50.1 and 50.2 respectively, signalling broadly no change since December.In terms of prices, average charges set by financial services companies fell for the first time in four months, while cost inflation in the sector eased further.

The Gulf institutions were seen increasingly bearish as the 20-stock Qatar Index knocked off 1.52% to 9,887.51 points on Monday.
Business
QSE sees 78% of stocks in red as bearish overhang grip sentiments; M-cap erodes QR9.37bn

An across the board profit booking, especially in the banks, led the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) plummet 153 points and its key index fell below 9,900 levels..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[130236]**The Gulf institutions were seen increasingly bearish as the 20-stock Qatar Index knocked off 1.52% to 9,887.51 points.As much as 78% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 8.71%.The domestic institutions were seen increasingly net sellers in the main bourse, whose capitalisation eroded QR9.37bn or 1.6% to QR575.5bn with large and midcap segments leading the pack of shakers.The Arab individuals’ weakened net buying had its influence in the main market, which saw as many as 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.03mn trade across five deals.However, the local retail investor turned bullish in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index fell slower than the other indices in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 1.52%, the All Share Index by 1.56% and the All Islamic Index by 1.15% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The banks and financial services sector index plummeted 1.96%, industrials (1.49%), real estate (1.18%), telecom (0.94%), insurance (0.8%), consumer goods and services (0.77%) and transport (0.6%).Major shakers in the main market included Ahlibank Qatar, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Estithmar Holding, Widam Food, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, Qatar National Cement, Industries Qatar, Qamco and United Development Company.Nevertheless, Qatar Oman Investment, Qatar Electricity and Water, Vodafone Qatar and Meeza were the four gainers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking increased substantially to QR40.15mn compared to QR3.05mn on February 4.The domestic institutions’ net selling strengthened considerably to QR20.92mn against QR9.22mn the previous day.The Arab individual investors’ net buying declined markedly to QR2.46mn compared to QR4.31mn on Sunday.However, the local individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR25.07mn against net sellers of QR12.56mn on February 4.The foreign institutions’ net buying expanded noticeably to QR24.78mn compared to QR18.21mn the previous day.The foreign individual investors’ net buying strengthened markedly to QR5.96mn against QR1.89mn on Sunday.The Gulf retail investors’ net buying expanded perceptibly to QR2.81mn compared to QR0.42mn on February 4.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the eighth consecutive session.Trade volumes in the main market soared 13% to 117.04mn shares, value by 41% to QR397.38mn and deals by 52% to 15,633.In the venture market, trade volumes more than doubled to 0.24mn equities and value also more than doubled to QR0.33mn on almost tripled transactions to 37.

About 72% of the traded constituents were in the red as the 20-stock Qatar Index declined 0.09% to 10,040.9 points on Sunday.
Business
Local retail investors’ net selling weaken QSE sentiments

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Sunday opened the week weak with the local retail investors increasingly resorting to profit booking..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[130236]**About 72% of the traded constituents were in the red as the 20-stock Qatar Index declined 0.09% to 10,040.9 points.The consumer goods, realty, transport, insurance and industrials counters witnessed higher than average selling pressure in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened further to 7.3%.The domestic institutions were seen increasingly bearish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation melted QR0.72bn or 0.12% to QR584.87bn with microcap cap segments leading the pack of shakers.The Gulf institutions continued to be net sellers but with lesser intensity in the main market, which saw as many as 6,555 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.02mn trade across six deals.The foreign funds were seen increasingly net buyers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index fell faster than the other indices in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was down 0.09%, the All Share Index by 0.16% and the All Islamic Index by 0.26% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decline.The consumer goods and services sector index tanked 1.28%, real estate (0.83%), transport (0.75%), insurance (0.34%) and industrials (0.25%); while telecom gained 0.65% and banks and financial services 0.08%.Major shakers in the main market included Widam Food, Lesha Bank, Alijarah Holding, Medicare Group, Aamal Company, Woqod, Baladna, Qatar National Cement, Gulf International Services, QLM, Barwa, Milaha and Gulf Warehousing. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatari German Medical Devices, Ooredoo, QIIB, Qatar Islamic Bank and Inma Holding were among the gainers in the main market.The local individuals’ net profit booking grew substantially to QR12.56mn compared to QR1.13mn on February 1.The domestic institutions’ net selling strengthened considerably to QR9.22mn against QR0.31mn the previous trading day.However, the foreign institutions’ net buying expanded significantly to QR18.21mn compared to QR5.9mn last Thursday.The Arab individual investors’ net buying increased marginally to QR4.31mn against QR4.12mn on February 1.The foreign individuals’ net buying also rose marginally to QR1.89mn compared to QR1.5mn the previous trading day.The Gulf retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.42mn against net sellers of QR0.11mn last Thursday.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking decreased markedly to QR3.05mn compared to QR9.97mn on February 1.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the seventh straight session.Trade volumes in the main market shrank 27% to 103.69mn shares, value by 34% to QR281.16mn and deals by 28% to 10,291.The venture market saw 27% contraction in trade volumes to 0.11mn equities, 33% in value to QR0.14mn and 13% in transactions to 13.

Qatar's overall hospitality sector saw higher than average growth in occupancy in the three and four-star hotels as well as standard and deluxe hotel apartment categories in December 2023, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority data. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
Qatar hotel industry records higher occupancy in December 2023

Qatar's hospitality sector witnessed higher occupancy year-on-year in December 2023, even as rooms yield declined, according to the official estimates.The country's overall hospitality sector saw higher than average growth in occupancy in the three and four-star hotels as well as standard and deluxe hotel apartment categories, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority data.In December 2022, the FIFA World Cup had seen a drastic surge in demand and therefore the average room tariffs, resulting in a spiralling rooms yield at that time.The occupancy in December 2023 comes amidst 518,856 visitor arrivals in the said month. On a yearly basis, the total visitor arrivals declined 15.4% but grew 31.9% month-on-month in the review period.The visitor arrivals from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) constituted 171,035 or 33% of the total, Europe 144,642 (28%), other Asia (including Oceania) 114,296 (22%), other Arab countries 39,719 (8%), Americas 34,972 (7%), and other African countries 14,192 (3%) in December 2023.On an annualised basis, the visitor arrivals from the GCC rose 30%; while those from other Arab countries declined 54.8%, Americas 48.9%, Europe 40.3%, other African countries 37.7% and other Asia (including Oceania) 14.7% in December 2023.On a month-on-month basis, the visitor arrivals from Europe shot up 81.8% and other Arab countries by 50.4%; whereas those from other African countries plummeted 124.4%, Americas by 63.9%, other Asia (including Oceania) by 45.6% and the GCC by 5.5% in the review period.Qatar's hospitality sector saw a 12% year-on-year increase in occupancy to 72%, even as revenue per available room plunged 75.52% to QR307 as the average room rate declined by 79.7% to QR425 in December 2023.The five-star hotels' occupancy rose by 10% to 67% but rooms yield plummeted 76.9% to QR405 as average room rate shrank 80.43% to QR605 in the review period.The four-star hotels saw a 13% higher occupancy to 75% but revenue per available room tanked 74.66% to QR168 as average room rate plunged 79.03% to QR224 in December 2023.The three-star hotels' occupancy shot up 16% to 91% even as rooms yield declined 71.43% to QR168 as average room rate fell 76.12% to QR186 in the review period.The two-star and one-star hotels' occupancy was up 2% to 90% but rooms yield contracted by 61.02% to QR145 as average room rate decreased by 61.79% to QR162 in the last month of 2023.The deluxe hotel apartments registered a 16% surge in occupancy to 76%, whereas revenue per available room fell 72.38% to QR279 on 78% shrinkage in average room rate to QR368 in the review period.In the case of standard hotel apartments, occupancy was higher by 21% to 73% but rooms yield dropped 74.11 to QR167 as average room rate plummeted 81.72% to QR228 in December 2023.

The banks and transport counters witnessed higher than average profit booking pressure as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 2.88% this week
Business
Regional geopolitical woes and Fed rate concerns drag index 298 points; M-cap melts QR15bn

The intensified geopolitical crisis in the region and the uncertainties surrounding the US Federal Reserve rates had their toll in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), whose key index.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[133515]**plummeted 298 points and capitalisation eroded QR15bn this week.The banks and transport counters witnessed higher than average profit booking pressure as the 20-stock Qatar Index tanked 2.88% this week which saw Moody's upgrade the long-term issuer ratings of QatarEnergy, Industries Qatar (IQ) and Qatar General Electricity and Water.The foreign funds were seen net sellers this week which saw Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports handled in excess of 103,000 TEUs this January, 39% of which were transshipment containers.The Gulf institutions continued to be net profit takers but with lesser vigour in main market this week which saw Nakilat report net profit of QR1.56bn during 2023.As much as 81% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse this week which saw Aamal Company's subsidiary Aamal Medical sign a new strategic partnership with Austco Healthcare.The domestic funds were seen increasingly into net buying in the main market this week which saw Qatar register a 12% month-on-month jump in trade surplus to QR18.73bn in December 2023.The local retail investors turned net buyers in the main bourse this week which saw Lesha Bank through its subsidiary acquire multifamily residential property 'Alta Federal Hill' building in Baltimore in the US.The Arab individuals turned bullish in the main market this week which saw a total of 0.06mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.15mn trade across 23 deals.Six of the seven sectors reeled under selling pressure in the main bourse this week which saw as many as 0.01mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange-traded fund QETF valued at QR0.04mn change hands across seven transactions.The Islamic index was seen declining slower than the other indices in the main market this week which saw the banks and industrials together constitute about 65% of the total trade volumes.Market capitalisation eroded QR14.99bn or 2.5% to QR585.59bn on the back of small and midcap segments this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills.Trade volumes and turnover were on the decline in both the main bourse and junior market this week, which saw the Qatar Financial Centre Authority sign a memorandum of understanding with Meeza, the leading provider of managed IT services and solutions in Qatar, to foster sustained growth within country’s tech ecosystem.The Total Return Index plummeted 2.88%, the All Share Index by 2.68% and the All Islamic Index by 2.07% this week, which saw a Kamco Invest report that highlighted total value of contracts awarded in Qatar increased by 29.1% year-on-year to $19bnn during 2023.The banks and financial services sector index shot up 3.87%, transport (3.29%), telecom (1.61%), consumer goods and services (1.08%), industrials (1.07%) and real estate (0.88%); while insurance was up 0.07% this week which saw Qatar's producers' price index shrink both on monthly and yearly basis in December.Major losers in the main market included Widam Food, Commercial Bank, Nakilat, Masraf Al Rayan, Medicare Group, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, QIIB, Lesha Bank, Qatari German Medical Devices, Mekdam Holding, Industries Qatar, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Mazaya Qatar, Ezdan, Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value this week which saw Dlala Holding liquidate Dlala Information Technology.Nevertheless, Qatari Investors Group, Zad Holding, Qatar Insurance, United Development Company and Qatar Islamic Insurance were among the gainers in the main market this week which saw Inma Holding register net profit of QR10.3mn during 2023.The foreign funds turned net sellers to the tune of QR36.04mn compared with net buyers of QR86.86mn the week ended January 25.However, the domestic institutions’ net buying increased drastically to QR30.02mn against QR10.65mn the previous week.The Qatari individuals were net buyers to the extent of QR26.97mn compared with net sellers of QR44.76mn a week ago.The Arab individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR12.62mn against net sellers of QR11.55mn the week ended January 25.The foreign individual investors’ net buying increased perceptibly to QR10.31mn compared to QR3.99mn the previous week.The Gulf retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR0.3mn against net profit takers of QR0.33mn a week ago.The Gulf institutions’ net selling eased marginally to QR44.18mn compared to QR45.86mn the week ended January 25.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second consecutive week.The main market witnessed a 38% contraction in trade volumes to 680.33mn shares, 32% in value to QR2.18bn and 28% in deals to 76,403 this week.In the venture market, trade volumes plummeted 50% to 1.08mn equities, value by 43% to QR1.51mn and transactions by 31% to 135.

A part of the Ras Laffan Industrial City. Moody's has upgraded the backed senior secured debt rating of QatarEnergy LNG S(3) to 'Aa3' from 'A1' and Nakilat Inc to 'Aa3' from 'A1' as well as upgraded the senior subordinated debt rating of Nakilat Inc to 'A1' from 'A2'.
Business
Moody's upgrades ratings of QatarEnergy LNG and Nakilat Inc

International credit rating agency Moody's has upgraded the backed senior secured debt rating of QatarEnergy LNG S(3) (QE LNG 3) to 'Aa3' from 'A1' and Nakilat Inc to 'Aa3' from 'A1' as well as upgraded the senior subordinated debt rating of Nakilat Inc to 'A1' from 'A2'.The baseline credit assessment (BCA) is affirmed at 'baa1' for QE LNG 3 and affirmed at 'a3' for Nakilat. The outlook on these issuers has been changed to “stable”, from “positive”.The rating actions of the two Qatari project finance issuers follow Moody's upgrade of the government bond and issuer ratings of the government to 'Aa2' from 'Aa3', and change in outlook to "stable", from "positive".The rating actions on QE LNG 3 and Nakilat reflect that each is a government related issuer (GRI) and that the ratings benefit from Moody's assumption of extraordinary support, if required, from the government to avoid a default on their debt obligations, which leads to a significant uplift from the standalone credit strength, or BCA, of the projects.The 'baa1' BCA for QE LNG 3 is affirmed and reflects its strong competitive position, very strong financial metrics, even in a low oil and gas price scenario, generally beneficial project finance structural features, although lacking certain security interests and subject to limitations on the likely effectiveness of certain creditor protections, event risk considerations, including asset concentration risk and geopolitical risk and exposure to oil and gas commodity price risk.The credit quality of the bonds, as captured in "Aa3' rating reflects Moody’s assessment of a high likelihood of extraordinary government support should it become necessary.The 'a3' BCA for Nakilat is affirmed and reflects the critical importance of its vessels to their liquefaction company charterers, high quality net cash flows, underpinned by charter payments that are highly resilient and well-matched to operating costs and debt service costs, financial metrics capable of supporting long tenure project finance debt, generally beneficial project finance structural features, certain event risk considerations including exposure to force majeure risks potentially affecting the vessels, and exposure to refinancing risk arising from the bullet maturities of certain facilities.QE LNG 3 operates in conjunction with its affiliate QatarEnergy LNG S (2) (QE LNG 2), (together, QE LNG 2-3). QE LNG 2-3 engages in the upstream production of natural gas, gas treatment and liquefaction and the export of natural gas in liquid form.QE LNG 2-3 has successfully developed five liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction trains, with total nameplate capacity of 29.7mn tonnes of LNG per annum, representing approximately 7.4% of globally traded LNG in 2022. QE LNG 2-3 produces a number of other valuable hydrocarbon byproducts, including condensates and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)."We consider QE LNG 2-3 as a single entity from a credit perspective since all senior secured debt raised by QE LNG 2 is unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by QE LNG 3, and vice versa. All such senior debt raised by the companies ranks pari passu, and is secured against a project finance security package. Secured creditors also benefit from project finance structural features," Moody's said.Nakilat Inc. was formed in April 2006 to be an intermediate special purpose holding company for a portfolio of wholly-owned special purpose companies, with each such company procuring the construction of an LNG carrier, and becoming that vessel's owner following construction completion. The 25 vessels are contracted under long-term time charter party agreements with LNG liquefaction companies based at Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar.

Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports handled in excess of 103,000 TEUs in January, of which 39% was transshipment containers, according to official estimates.
Business
Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports handle over 103,000TEUs container volumes in January 2024: Mwani Qatar

Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports handled in excess of 103,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) this January, of which 39% was transshipment containers, according to official estimates. The country's maritime sector saw increased volumes of vehicles (RORO) handled through the three ports on an annualised basis in the review period, according to the data compiled by Mwani Qatar. However, the container movement declined 7.3% and 3.96% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in the review period. The container handling through the three ports stood at 103,372 TEUs. Hamad Port, the largest eco-friendly project in the region and internationally recognised as one of the largest green ports in the world, alone handled 102,875 TEUs of containers handled this January. The container terminals have been designed to address the increasing trade volume, enhancing ease of doing business as well as supporting the achievement of economic diversification, one of the most important goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030. The general and bulk cargo handled through the three ports amounted to 59,041 freight tonnes in January 2024, which shrank 48.01% and 57.07% on yearly and monthly basis respectively. Hamad Port – whose multi-use terminal is designed to serve the supply chains for the RORO, grains and livestock – handled as much as 56,484 freight tonnes of breakbulk in January this year. The container and cargo trends through the ports corroborates the Qatar Financial Center's purchasing managers' index, which has maintained that the country's non-oil private sector is in the pink of its health and the 12-month outlook remains bright. As many as 217 ships had called on Qatar's three ports in January 2024, which however was lower by 3.98% and 2.69% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively. 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, saw as many as 138 vessels call (excluding military) on the port in the review period. The three ports were seen handling 31,337 livestock in January 2024, which showed 24.16% plunge year-on-year but shot up 27.54% month-on-month. Hamad Port, which recently completed 5mn man-hours without any lost time injury, was seen handling as many as 8,000 heads in the review period. The building materials traffic through the three ports stood at 49,745 tonnes in January 2024, which plummeted 90.59% on an annualised basis even as it was up 1.14% month-on-month. The three ports handled 6,066 RORO in January 2024, which registered 6.27% growth year-on-year but tanked 27.26% on monthly basis. Hamad Port alone handled 6,044 units in January this year. Qatar's automobile sector has been witnessing stronger sales, notably in heavy equipment, private motorcycles and private vehicles, according to the data of the Planning and Statistics Authority.

Gulf Times
Business
Extraneous factors play spoilsport as QSE index loses 21 points; M-cap melts QR2bn

Ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Wednesday extended its bearish run for the fifth straight session as its key index lost as much as 21.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[133515]**points and capitalisation melted in excess of QR2bn.The transport, banking and consumer goods sectors witnessed higher than average selling as the 20-stock Qatar Index fell 0.2% to 10,089.2 points, also reflecting the geopolitical tensions.The local retail investors were seen net profit takers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened further to 6.85%.The Arab individuals’ weakened net buying had its influence on the main bourse, whose capitalisation melted QR2.02bn or 0.34% to QR587.61bn with microcap cap segments leading the pack of shakers.The Gulf and foreign institutions continued to be net sellers but with lesser intensity in the main market, which saw as many as 0.02mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.05mn trade across seven deals.The domestic funds were seen net buyers in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index made gains vis-à-vis decline in the other indices in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 0.21% and the All Share Index by 0.25%, while the All Islamic Index was up 0.07% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The transport sector index shrank 0.62%, banks and financial services (0.38%), consumer goods and services (0.34%) and industrials (0.14%); whereas real estate gained 0.97%, insurance (0.18%) and telecom (0.04%).More than 59% of the traded constituents in the main market were on the decline with major losers being Commercial Bank, Qatar Oman Investment, Masraf Al Rayan, Widam Food, Gulf Warehousing, QNB and Dukhan Bank.Nevertheless, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Lesha Bank, Doha Bank, United Development Company, Qatar Islamic Bank, QIIB, Dlala and Qatari Investors Group were among the gainers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The local individuals turned net profit takers to the tune of QR2.24mn against net buyers of QR18.36mn on January 30.The Arab individual investors’ net buying weakened noticeably to QR0.1mn compared to QR2.1mn the previous day.However, the domestic funds were net buyers to the extent of QR3.34mn against net sellers of QR0.53mn on Tuesday.The foreign retail investors’ net buying increased perceptibly to QR0.78mn compared to QR0.37mn on January 30.The Gulf individual investors’ net buying strengthened marginally to QR0.33mn against QR0.3mn the previous day.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking declined significantly to QR0.16mn compared to QR11.27mn on Tuesday.The foreign institutions’ net selling weakened substantially to QR2.15mn against QR9.37mn on January 30.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the fifth straight session.Trade volumes in the main market were up 3% to 147.03mn shares and value by 7% to QR515.24mn, while deals fell 7% to 16,082.The venture market saw 50% contraction in trade volumes to 0.17mn equities, 49% in value to QR0.24mn and 43% in transactions to 25.

Gulf Times
Business
QSE index falls 42 points; M-cap melts QR2.47bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Tuesday continued its bearish run for the fourth consecutive day with its key index losing 42 points, reflecting the lingering concerns on.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[133515]**intensified geopolitical crisis in the region.The industrials sector witnessed higher than average selling pressure as the 20-stock Qatar Index lost 0.41% to 10,109.86 points.The domestic institutions were seen net profit takers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened further to 6.65%.The Arab retail investors’ weakened net buying had its influence in the main bourse, whose capitalisation melted QR2.47bn or 0.42% to QR589.63bn with small cap segments leading the pack of shakers.The foreign institutions continued to be net sellers but with lesser intensity in the main market, which saw as many as 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan) valued at QR0.02mn trade across four deals.The Gulf funds were also net profit takers but with lesser vigour in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index fell slower than the other indices in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 0.41%, the All Share Index by 0.37% and the All Islamic Index by 0.4% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The industrials sector index shrank 1.22%, banks and financial services (0.37%), real estate (0.34%) and insurance (0.03%); while transport gained 0.79%, telecom (0.48%) and consumer goods and services (0.28%).Major losers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, QIIB, Industries Qatar, Al Faleh Educational Holding, Qatari German Medical Devices, Lesha Bank, Masraf Al Rayan and Mekdam Holding. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Milaha, Commercial Bank, Baladna, Dukhan Bank, Qatar Insurance and Meeza were among the gainers in the main market.The domestic funds were net sellers to the tune of QR0.53mn compared with net buyers of QR28.44mn on January 29.The Arab individual investors’ net buying weakened noticeably to QR2.1mn against QR6.94mn the previous day.However, the local individuals’ net buying strengthened markedly to QR18.36mn compared to QR10.65mn on Monday.The foreign retail investors turned net buyers to the extent of QR0.37mn against net sellers of QR0.01mn on January 29.The Gulf individual investors were net buyers to the tune of QR0.3mn compared with net sellers of QR0.19mn the previous day.The foreign institutions’ net profit boking weakened substantially to QR9.37mn against QR29.03mn on Monday.The Gulf institutions’ net selling declined significantly to QR11.27mn compared to QR16.78mn on January 29.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the fourth straight session.Trade volumes in the main market were up about 1% to 143.35mn shares and value by 5% to QR482.29mn, while deals fell about 1% to 17,369.In the venture market, trade volumes almost doubled to 0.34mn equities and value also almost doubled to QR0.47mn on more than transactions to 44.

Gulf Times
Business
Intensified geopolitical tension weaken sentiments as QSE plunges 195 points; M-cap melts QR9bn

Reflecting the intensified geopolitical tensions, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Monday plummeted more than 195 points and capitalisation eroded in excess of QR9bn..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[133515]**A higher than average selling pressure in the banks and transport sectors led the 20-stock Qatar Index tank 1.89% to 10,151.98 points.The foreign institutions were seen increasingly into net selling in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 6.27%.As much as 84% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation eroded QR9.05bn or 1.51% to QR592.1bn with large and midcap segments leading the pack of shakers.The Gulf institutions were increasingly net profit takers in the main market, which saw as many as 0.03mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.06mn trade across five deals.The Gulf individuals were seen increasingly net sellers, albeit at lower levels, in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index fell slower than the other indices in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index shed 1.89%, the All Share Index by 1.75% and the All Islamic Index by 1.36% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the increase.The banks and financial services sector index plunged 2.66%, transport (2.2%), real estate (1.07%), consumer goods and services (1.04%), telecom (0.33%) and industrials (0.32%), while insurance was up 0.02%.Major losers in the main market included Commercial Bank, Doha Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, QIIB, Al Meera, QNB, Qatari German Medical Devices, Mekdam Holding, Mazaya Qatar, Milaha and Nakilat. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Aamal Company, Qatar Insurance, Estithmar Holding, Industries Qatar and Gulf International Services were among the gainers in the main market.The foreign institutions’ net selling increased substantially to QR29.03mn compared to QR1.41mn on January 28.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking grew significantly to QR16.78mn against QR6mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling expanded perceptibly to QR0.19mn compared to QR0.02mn on Sunday.The foreign retail investors turned net sellers to the extent of QR0.01mn against net buyers of QR7.66mn on January 28.However, the domestic funds were net buyers to the tune of QR28.44mn compared with net sellers of QR0.92mn the previous day.The local individual investors’ net buying strengthened considerably to QR10.65mn against QR1.33mn on Sunday.The Arab individuals turned net buyers to the extent of QR6.94mn compared with net sellers of QR0.63mn on January 28.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the third straight session.Trade volumes in the main market soared 36% to 142.52mn shares, value by 54% to QR459.61mn and deals by 57% to 17,497.The venture market saw a 25% plunge in trade volumes to 0.18mn equities, 24% in value to QR0.25mn and 50% in transactions to 17.

Qatar witnessed a 12% month-on-month jump in trade surplus to QR18.73bn in December 2023 on the back of robust growth in the shipments of hydrocarbons, according to the official estimates.
Business
Qatar’s trade surplus sees 12% month-on-month growth to QR18.73bn in December 2023

Qatar witnessed a 12% month-on-month jump in trade surplus to QR18.73bn in December 2023 on the back of robust growth in the shipments of hydrocarbons, according to the official estimates.Total exports (valued free on board) were QR29.22bn, while the total imports (cost, insurance and freight) amounted to QR10.49bn in the review period, said the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority.However, the trade surplus shrank 33.7% year-on-year in December 2023.The country's total exports of domestic goods amounted to QR28.11bn, which shot up 10% on a monthly basis, even as it fell 24.8% on an annualised basis in December 2023.The country’s exports of petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons soared 8.6% month-on-month to QR18.06bn, crude by 30.1% to QR4.84bn and other commodities by 4% to QR2.96bn; whereas those of non-crude declined 4.7% to QR2.25bn in December 2023.On a yearly basis, the exports of petroleum gases were seen declining 31.1%, other commodities by 21.9%, non-crude by 6.1% and crude by 3.4% in the review period.The share of petroleum gases in the country's total export basket has been declining on an annualised basis, while those of crude and non-crude were on the increase.Petroleum gases accounted for 64.25% of the total exports in December 2023 compared to 70.07% a year-ago period, crude 17.21% (13.38%), non-crude 8% (6.4%) and others 10.54% (10.14%).In December 2023, Qatar's shipments to China amounted to QR5.76bn or 19.7% of the total exports of the country, followed by India QR4.52bn (15.5%), South Korea QR2.87bn (9.8%), Spain QR2.35bn (8%) and Taiwan QR1.93bn (6.6%).On a monthly basis, the country's exports to Spain jumped about 10-fold, those to Taiwan more than doubled, India by 23.37%, South Korea by 10.42% and China by 6.31% in the review period.On a yearly basis, Qatar's exports to China plunged 31.37% and South Korea by 26.2%; whereas those to Spain grew more than nine-fold, Taiwan more than doubled and India by 7.29% in December 2023.Qatar's total imports showed a 7% and 4.2% increase on month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in December 2023.The country's imports from China amounted to QR1.5bn or 14.3% of the total imports; followed by the US QR1.45bn (13.8%), Italy by QR1.01bn (9.6%), India QR0.6bn (5.7%) and Germany QR0.58bn (5.5%) in the review period.On a monthly basis, the country's imports from Italy zoomed 36.07% and India by 25.47%, while those from the US were down 0.95%, Germany by 0.85% and China by 0.53% in December 2023.On a yearly basis, Qatar's imports from Italy shot up 11.71%, India by 8.29% and China by 3.96%; whereas those from the US and Germany tanked 26.7% and 24.92% respectively in the review period.In December 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 12.3%.In second place was "Motor Cars & Other Motor Vehicles for The Transport of Persons”, with QR0.5bn, which increased 8.9% year-on-year in December 2023.The "Electrical Apparatus for Line Telephony/Telegraphy, Telephone Sets Etc. and parts thereof" group saw imports of QR0.4bn, which surged 28.1% on an annualised basis in December 2023.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar records 29% year-on-year jump in contracts awarded to $19bn in 2023: Kamco Invest

Powered by the hydrocarbons sector, the total value of contracts awarded in Qatar rose 29.1% year-on-year to $19bn during 2023, according to Kamco Invest, a regional economic thinktank.The growth in contract awards was primarily due to the jump in value of projects awarded in Qatar’s gas sector during 2023, which represented 61.1% of the total contracts awarded in the country during the year.Total value of gas sector projects awarded jumped from $6.5bn during 2022 to $11.6bn during 2023. The growth of the gas sector’s total value of contracts awarded during the year was mainly due to the $10bn engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the North Field South project, which aims to construct two mega LNG (liquefied natural gas) trains with a total capacity of 16mn tonnes of LNG per annum.Total value of contracts awarded in Qatar’s oil sector witnessed 19.2 times jump to $2.9bn during 2023. The construction sector, however, witnessed a 42.5% decline in total value of projects awarded during the year to $580mn.In the third quarter of the year, North Oil Company, the Qatari oil producer, selected contractors for four main EPC packages of the third phase of expansion of Al-Shaheen offshore field production that currently has a production capacity of 300,000 bpd (barrels per day).The overall Al-Shaheen oil field is Qatari’s largest oil field and has been producing oil for over 28 years. The third phase expansion contract to expand the fields’ oil production is valued at $6bn, according to MEED Projects.Elsewhere in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), Kamco Invest expects the project market to be at par with 2023 levels, given the strong pipeline as well as the reforms being formulated by the governments in the region to move the economy away from the dependence on oil revenues.The efforts are also evident in the real GDP (gross domestic product) growth expectations for 2024. The GCC countries are expected to witness stronger economic growth in 2024 after sluggish performance in 2023 that was affected by Opec+ oil production cuts.According to MEED Projects, the total value of projects in the Middle East and North Africa region that are in the bidding phase or due for an award in 2024 is expected to surpass $27bn.In terms of outlook for contract awards in 2024, according to MEED Projects, Saudi Arabia leads in the GCC with $107.2bn in expected contract awards, followed by UAE and Kuwait with expected awards at $51.5bn and $19.8bn, respectively.The GCC countries comprise 80% or $216bn of the Mena region’s aggregate value of contracts that are in a bidding phase or due for an award in 2024.According to MEED Projects, there is more than $105bn worth of contracts in the bid evaluation phase in the GCC and a further more than $130bn of contracts in the tender or pre-qualification stage.The biggest project that is in both the bidding and in the bid evaluation phase in the GCC is the $7bn ‘UZ1000’ expansion by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc Offshore) for the construction of surface facilities at the Upper Zakum oil field.The second largest contract that is currently in both the bidding and evaluation phases simultaneously is the $6bn Duwaiheen project to develop two 2,800MW nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.In Kuwait, the $4bn Al-Zhour North independent water and power project (phases one to three) tops the list as the largest contracts in the bid phase or due for an award during the year in the country.In terms of contract awards by sector in 2024, the GCC power sector is expected to be the strongest sector with the value of projects in bid and due for award phases at $59.7bn, followed by the transport sector at $53.1bn.

The 20-stock Qatar Index stood at 10,347.21 points yesterday despite buying support from the foreign and local retail investors
Business
QSE remains flat amidst buying interests from foreign and Gulf retail investors

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Sunday opened the week on a flat pitch despite buying interests in the industrials, realty and insurance 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[133515]**The 20-stock Qatar Index stood at 10,347.21 points despite buying support from the foreign and local retail investors.The foreign institutions were seen net profit takers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses remained at 4.46%.As much as 50% of the traded constituents were in the red in the main bourse, whose capitalisation added QR0.57n or 0.09% to QR601.15bn with microcap segments leading the pack of gainers.The Arab institutions continued to be net sellers but with lesser intensity in the main market, which saw as many as 8,721 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.04mn trade across nine deals.The Gulf individuals’ lower net profit booking was visible in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Islamic index gained vis-à-vis flat main barometer in the main market, which reported no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index was unchanged, while the All Share Index rose by 0.03% and the All Islamic Index by 0.12% in the main bourse, whose trade turnover and volumes were on the decrease.The industrial sector index gained 0.36%, realty (0.26%) and insurance (0.17%); while transport declined 0.37%, consumer goods and services (0.36%), telecom (0.09%) and banks and financial services (0.01%).Major losers in the main market included Alijarah Holding, Lesha Bank, Nakilat, Commercial Bank, Aamal Holding and Al Faleh Educational Holding.Nevertheless, Qatari Investors Group, Qatar Islamic Insurance, Gulf Warehousing, Milaha and Al Khaleej Takaful were among the gainers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The foreign individual investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR7.66mn against net sellers of QR1.4mn on January 25.The local retail investors were net buyers to the extent of QR1.33mn compared with net sellers of QR9.86mn last Thursday.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking decreased substantially to QR6mn against QR19.28mn the previous trading day.The Gulf individual investors’ net selling weakened perceptibly to QR0.02mn compared to QR0.32mn on January 25.The Arab individuals’ net profit booking eased marginally to QR0.63mn against QR0.88mn last Thursday.However, the foreign funds turned net sellers to the tune of QR1.41mn compared with net buyers of QR24.46mn the previous trading.The domestic institutions were net profit takers to the extent of QR0.92mn against net buyers of QR7.28mn on January 25.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second straight session.Trade volumes in the main market fell 29% to 104.49mn shares, value by 31% to QR299.06mn and deals by 29% to 11,165.The venture market saw 41% plunge in trade volumes to 0.24mn equities, 42% in value to QR0.33mn and 33% in transactions to 34.

Notwithstanding the rising geopolitical tensions in the region, the Qatar Stock Exchange closed this week on a positive note with its key index gaining as much as 29 points despite losers outnumbering gainers.
Business
Positive sentiments lift Qatar bourse key index 29 points

Notwithstanding the rising geopolitical tensions in the region, the Qatar Stock Exchange closed this week on a positive note with its key index gaining as much as 29 points despite.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[132618]**losers outnumbering gainers.A higher than average demand in the industrials counter helped the 20-stock Qatar Index gain 0.28% this week which saw Commercial Bank report net profit of QR3.01bn in 2023.The foreign funds were seen net buyers this week which saw Masraf Al Rayan register net profit of QR1.45bn in 2023.The foreign retail investors were increasingly net buyers this week which saw Doha Bank record net profit of QR769.48mn in 2023.The Gulf institutions’ weakened net selling had its influence in main market this week which saw FLAG, a subsidiary of Gulf Warehousing (GWC), open a logistics hub in Oman.The domestic funds continued to be net buyers but with lesser vigour in the main bourse this week which saw GWC report net profit of QR215.04mn in 2023.However, the local retail investors turned net profit takers in the main market this week which saw QNB raise $1bn through its Eurobond medium-term note programme.The Gulf individuals’ lower net selling also had its marginal influence in the main bourse this week which saw Estithmar Holding launch a QR3.4bn trust certificate issue.The Arab individuals turned bearish in the main market this week which saw a total of 0.07mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.16mn trade across 25 deals.Five of the seven sectors reeled under selling pressure in the main bourse this week which saw as many as 687 Doha Bank-sponsored exchange-traded fund QETF valued at QR0.01mn change hands across three transactions.The Islamic index was seen declining vis-a-vis gains in the other indices in the main market this week which saw the banks and industrials together constitute more than 60% of the total trade volumes.Market capitalisation was up QR0.35bn or 0.06% to QR600.58bn on the back of microcap segments this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds and treasury bills.Trade volumes and turnover were on the increase in both the main bourse and juniour market this week, which saw Lesha Bank register net profit of QR94.39mn in 2023.The Total Return Index rose 0.28% and the All Share Index by 0.11%, while the All Islamic Index declined 0.12% this week, which saw Petrotec, a subsidiary of Al Mahhar Holding, and Siemens enter into a strategic partnership to support Qatar's digital transformation in energy and utilities sector.The industrial sector index gained 1.07% and banks and financial services 0.04%; while real estate declined 0.49%, telecom (0.39%), consumer goods and services (0.19%) and transport (0.06%) this week.Major gainers in the main market included Qatar National Cement, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Doha Bank, Doha Insurance, Ahlibank QIIB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Industries Qatar, Alijarah Holding, Mekdam Holding, GWC and Nakilat. In the venture market, Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.Nevertheless, Qatari German Medical Devices, Qatar Insurance, Masraf Al Rayan, Baladna, Ezdan, Lesha Bank, Dlala, Salam International Investment, Medicare Group and Qamco were among the losers in the main market. In the junior bourse, Al Faleh Educational Holding saw its shares depreciate in value this week.The foreign funds turned net buyers to the tune of QR86.86mn compared with net sellers of QR66.34mn the week ended January 18.The foreign individual investors’ net buying increased perceptibly to QR3.99mn against QR1.04mn the previous week.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking declined substantially to QR45.86mn compared to QR59.16mn a week ago.The Gulf retail investors’ net selling eased markedly to QR0.33mn against QR1.37mn the week ended January 18.However, the Qatari individuals were net sellers to the extent of QR44.76mn compared with net buyers of QR36.96mn the previous week.The Arab individual investors turned net sellers to the tune of QR11.55mn against net buyers of QR4.04mn a week ago.The domestic funds’ net buying weakened drastically to QR10.65mn compared to QR84.78mn the week ended January 18.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure against net buyers to the extent of QR0.05mn the previous week.The main market witnessed a 24% surge in trade volumes to 1.1mn shares, 9% in value to QR3.2bn and 13% in deals to 106,262 this week.In the venture market, trade volumes almost tripled to 2.17mn equities and value also almost tripled to QR2.64mn on more than doubled transactions to 197.

The panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Development in Qatar’ gathered industry experts during the Qatar Financial Market Forum 2024, held in Doha on Tuesday under the theme ‘Trends Shaping Emerging Markets and Sustainable Infrastructure & Mobility’. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Business
Qatar’s new projects expected in H2 2024 to spur uptick in growth

Economists and leading industry experts in Qatar are anticipating that the second half of 2024 will see the announcement and release of new projects, leading to an uptick in growth.This was expressed during a panel discussion titled ‘Sustainable Development in Qatar’, which was one of the highlights of the Qatar Financial Market Forum 2024, held on Tuesday under the theme ‘Trends Shaping Emerging Markets and Sustainable Infrastructure & Mobility’.Karima Fenaoui, Global Content Research Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence, moderated the discussion between Muhannad Mukahhal, CEO, Standard Chartered Qatar;Henk J Hoogendoorn, Chief of Financial Services Sector, Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA); Jody Sanderson, Chief Business Officer, Doha Bank; Michael Dean, Senior Global Auto Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence; and Sonia Baldeira, Senior Global Construction Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence.According to Sanderson, there is optimism for consistent growth in Qatar from 2025 onwards, particularly in areas that have not historically been the focus, such as tourism and agriculture but are part of a diversified and sustainable economy.Mukahhal noted that developments in Qatar’s energy sector and its global standing are “on track,” positioning it to attract more companies to join the ecosystem for expansion in this sector.He also lauded the high standard of healthcare and education in Qatar compared to the region, suggesting that these are areas where Qatar needs to invest more in research and development, healthcare, and education to differentiate itself from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. “When considering these factors, Qatar would be highly ranked,” Mukahhal added.Meanwhile, Baldeira provided an overview of the ongoing projects in Qatar, particularly the development of smart cities and real estate in Doha. She noted that there is growing attention to transportation projects, including the addition of more trains, light trains, and improved city connections, particularly between Lusail and Doha.Baldeira also expresses interest in a potential high-speed train project linking Doha and Riyadh, which is expected to garner international attention and corporate interest. She added that commercial real estate remains a key component in the development of smart cities, underscoring the need for increased connectivity within Doha.Hoogendoorn lauded Qatar for its strategic efforts to position itself on the map and gain international recognition, thus attracting foreign companies amidst the current competitive landscape in the region.He emphasised that there has been a lot of interest from international entities, particularly from China and the US, adding that people are coming to Qatar to explore how they can benefit from the growth happening in the country.

QInvest co-chief executive officer Hussain Abdulla.
Business
Global asset managers increasingly looking at Doha as Ashmore Group launches $200mn Qatar equity: QInvest CEO

With the US and Europe "drying up", global asset managers such as Ashmore are flocking to Qatar’s capital market, which also has the potential to see Qatari riyal debt issuances of QR10bn in the next two to three years, according to QInvest co-chief executive officer Hussain Abdulla.Addressing a panel session at the second Qatar Financial Market Forum, jointly organised by the Qatar Financial Centre and Bloomberg Intelligence, he said the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the Middle East and North Africa is $4tn, of which the GCC economies form $2tn. Moreover, the region's sovereign wealth funds' assets are valued more than $2tn.In the past, global asset managers came to the GCC to tap the enormous capital but it is not the case anymore, according to him."There is dryness in the US and Europe. All these asset managers are now using the GCC as a hub," he said in a specific reference to the recent agreement between Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Ashmore Group to launch a $200mn corpus Qatar equity fund.The Ashmore Qatar Equity Fund, with QIA as an anchor investor and Ashmore Group as the first partner, will play a pivotal role in enhancing investor relations, quality of disclosure, research coverage, and improve liquidity on the local bourse.The sovereign wealth fund's active asset management initiative to seed funds by re-allocating shares in QSE listed companies to these external managers will add to the available free float in the market and create confidence among investors and encourage both local and global investment institutions to participate."I believe the main driver (behind the global asset managers to set base here) is the oil and gas," he said, adding the ongoing review of the equity capital market and its legislation in Qatar have now been completed.The local bourse had recently amended the list of securities eligible for the market making to include more stocks.Referring to the opening up of the markets for international investors, he said it would encourage more foreign investments into the country and the move by Ashmore Group is an example.Qatar has liberalised the foreign ownership limits in the Qatar Stock Exchange listed companies up to 100% and the country also witnessed the launch of third financial sector strategy, through which the sector is expected to contribute as much as QR84bn to Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.Abdulla said the initial public offering of Meeza through book-building process, the first of its kind in the country, was fraught with challenges, especially around its timing and the pricing. However, the offer (which was oversubscribed 111%) highlighted the investors' confidence in the system."If there is much larger equity or IPO story, we can open up to international investors assuming we have the necessary infrastructure, especially when it comes to settlement," he said.On the Qatari riyal issuance in the debt market, he said "with the number of banks that we have, we can easily reach QR10bn within two to three years and we need to provide liquidity."