The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has maintained status quo on its interest rates, following the US Federal Reserve's policy to pause rate hike in its latest meeting."QCB has assessed the current monetary requirements of Qatar and has decided to continue with the current interest rates" for deposit, lending and repo, the central bank said in its social media handle.The central bank said it will continue to assess the appropriate monetary policy, factoring in all aspects, which may affect financial stability and will review its monetary policy as and when appropriate to address changes in economic requirements.The QCB in July increased the repo, deposit and lending rates by 25 basis points, after the Fed raised the reference rates (by 25 basis points) to their highest level in more than two decades.Qatar has so far seen a cumulative 5% or 500 basis points hike in interest rates since January 2022, even as the QCB outlined four major priority sectors that would not bear the brunt of rate hike on their outstanding loans.Since January 2022, repo rate has risen from 1% to 1.25% in March, 1.75% in May, 2.5% in June, 3.25% in July, 4% in September, 4.75% in November, 5.25% in December, 5.5% in March, 5.75% in May 2023 and the 6% in July. In 2022, the average repo rate was 2.77%.The QCB lending rate has cumulatively increased by 3.75% or 375bps since the beginning of 2022, jumping from 2.5% in January to 2.75% in May, 3.25% in June, 3.75% in July, 4.5% in September, 5% in November, 5.5% in December, 5.75% in March, 6% in May and 6.25% in July.On credit facilities, the interest rate (weighted average) on loans less than one year was rose to 6.51% in July 2023 against 4.67% in July 2022; on loans from one to three years to 7.17% (3.82%); and on loans of three years and above to 6.81% (4.9%).However, the QCB had in July this year said there are various sectors that benefit from the non-increase in interest/return rates on the outstanding credit facilities in national banks.The eligible sectors include private housing and consumption loans to Qatari citizens; service sector; industrial manufacturing; and trading sector. Within the servicers sector that ought to benefit include tourism, restaurants, hotels, entertainment, mechanical workshops, exhibitions and machinery repairs.The QCB deposit rate has cumulatively jumped by 4.75% or 475bps, increasing from 1% in January 2022 to 1.5% in May, 2.25% in June, 3% in July, 3.75% in September, 4.5% in November, 5% in December 2022, 5.25% in March 2023, 5.5% in May 2023 and 5.75% this July.The rates on deposits of one-month stood at 4.59% in July 2023 against 2.08% year-ago period; three-month deposits 5.33% (2.3%); six-month deposits 5.07% (2.34%); one-year 4.74% (2.06%) and more than one year 5.16% (2.09%).The interest rates on demand deposits had a chequered path. From 0.29% in January 2023, it rose to 0.88% in February but only to fall to 0.51% in March. Again in April it rose to 0.55% but fell to 0.2% in May. In June this year, it soared to 0.84% but only to decline to 0.41% in July 2023.In the case of savings deposits, the rates have been on the increasing mode since March 2023. It was 0.38% in January, which fell to 0.18% in the subsequent month. After which it soared to 0.32% in March, 0.33% in April, 0.39% in May, 0.47% in June and 0.49% in July 2023.The weighted average overnight interbank interest rate (on riyal) noticeably shot up from January 2022 when it was 0.28%. In July 2022, it spurted to 1.68%, 2.62% in August, 2.61% in September, 3.7% in October, 4.31% in November, 4.68% in December, 4.97% in January 2023, 5.02% in February 2023, 5.12% in March 2023, 5.3% in April 2023, 5.51% in May 2023, 5.54% in June 2023 and 5.63% in 2023.
The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) treaded almost a flat path this week which otherwise saw the US Federal Reserve chose to maintain status quo on its benchmark rate.The Gulf institutions were increasingly net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index settled mere 0.04% higher this week which saw Gulf International Services board approve the final merger agreement of its catering subsidiary Amwaj.The insurance, telecom, industrials and transport notably witnessed higher than average demand in the main market this week which saw QTerminals, in which Milaha is an equity stakeholder, formally complete its acquisition of a majority stake in the Netherlands-based Kramer Holding.The Gulf institutions were seen marginally bullish in the main bourse this week which saw Qatar Oman Investment Company disclose its exit from Muzn Oman Commercial Company.The local retail investors’ substantially weakened net profit booking had its influence in the main market this week which saw Qatar Chamber disclose that the road transport sector reported five-fold jump to 444 companies during 2018-22.The Gulf individuals’ lower net selling also had its say in the main bourse this week which saw Qatar’s retail inflation jump 2.38% year-on-year in July 2023.The Islamic index was seen outperforming other indices in the main market this week which saw Qatar’s industrial production expand 1.6% in July 2023 on an annualised basis.However, the domestic institutions were increasingly net profit takers in the main bourse this week which saw a total of 0.2mn Masraf Al Rayan-sponsored exchange-traded fund QATR worth QR0.44mn trade across 22 deals.The foreign funds turned bearish in the main market this week which saw as many as 0.03mn Doha Bank-sponsored exchange-traded fund QETF valued at QR0.33mn change hands across 27 transactions.Market capitalisation was down by a marginal QR0.05bn or 0.01% to QR605.24bn on the back of microcap segments this week which saw the industrials and banks together constitute about 59% of the total trade volume in the main bourse.The Total Return Index added 0.04%, the All Islamic Index by 0.73% and the All Share Index by 0.09% this week, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The insurance sector index shot up 3.14%, telecom (1.88%), industrials (1.43%), transport (1.42%) and real estate (0.37%); while consumer goods and services declined 1.31% and banks and financial services (0.97%) this week which saw no trading of treasury bills.Major gainers in the main bourse included Milaha, Inma Holding, Qatar Insurance, Qatar Oman Investment, Doha Insurance, Medicare Group, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Qatar National Cement, Industries Qatar and Ooredoo. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mahhar Holding saw their shares depreciate in value this week.Nevertheless, Qatari German Medical Devices, Meeza, GIS, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Dukhan Bank, QIIB, Commercial Bank, Dlala, Salam International Investment, Beema, Mazaya Qatar, Gulf Warehousing and Nakilat were among the shakers in the main bourse.The Gulf institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR66.78mn against QR19.91mn the week ended September 14.The Arab funds turned net buyers to the extent of QR0.21mn compared with net profit takers of QR0.4mn the previous week.The local retail investors’ net profit booking declined significantly to QR25.06mn against QR74.28mn a week ago.The Gulf individuals’ net selling weakened noticeably to QR0.94mn compared to QR7.18mn the week ended September 14.However, the domestic institutions’ net selling increased considerably to QR26.96mn against QR11.46mn the previous week.The foreign funds were net sellers to the tune of QR11.49mn compared with net buyers of QR50.42mn a week ago.The Arab individuals turned net sellers to the extent of QR1.92mn against net buyers of QR5.32mn the week ended September 14.The foreign individuals were net profit takers to the tune of QR0.61mn compared with net buyers of QR17.67mn the previous week.The main market witnessed 31% shrinkage in trade volumes to 872.53mn shares, 36% in value to QR2.28bn and 22% in deals to 80,343 this week.In the venture market, trade volumes more than tripled to 11.76mn equities and value more than doubled to QR13.36mn on 14% jump in transactions to 487.
Turkiye’s central bank raised its key interest rate by a lofty 500 basis points to 30% yesterday, marking a second month of aggressive tightening after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set aside his long opposition to tight policy.The bank reiterated it is ready to raise rates further as needed to rein in inflation that leapt to nearly 59% in August and is expected to rise into next year. It has hiked rates by 2,150 basis points since June.The lira slipped to 27.105 to the dollar after the decision, just shy of its all-time low touched last month.In a Reuters poll, economists forecast a 500-basis-point hike with forecasts ranging from 27.5% to 31%.The fourth rate hike in as many months “is probably not enough in itself to convince investors that inflation is being brought under control,” said James Wilson, EM sovereign strategist at ING. “We expect further rate hikes will be needed before the end of the year, although the overall direction of policy towards a more hawkish bias should in general be taken as a positive by investors.”Following his May re-election, Erdogan appointed former Wall Street banker Hafize Gaye Erkan to lead the central bank in June as authorities grappled with an economy strained by depleted FX reserves and soaring inflation expectations.Previously, the support was for a low interest rate policy despite high inflation, which triggered a currency crisis in late 2021 and pushed inflation above 85% last year. Partly due to lira deprecation, annual consumer price inflation is seen rising to around 60% by year end.Last month the bank shocked with a 750-point hike that was seen signalling a new determination to battle inflation. Rates rose three times more than expected and sparked the biggest single-day lira rally since 2021.Two weeks later, Erdogan said tight monetary policy will help bring down inflation.The central bank said policy “will be further strengthened as much as needed in a timely and gradual manner until a significant improvement in the inflation outlook is achieved”.The lira has weakened nearly 70% in two years; it dropped again this summer as the new economic team loosened the state’s grip on forex markets and began shedding unorthodox policies and regulations.The central bank has also selectively tightened credit and began rolling back a costly scheme, adopted to halt the late-2021 currency crash, that protects lira deposits against forex depreciation.Based on last week’s Reuters poll, economists expect further monetary tightening to lift the policy rate to 35% by year-end, with forecasts ranging between 30% and 40%.Earlier this month, the government lifted its year-end inflation forecast to 65% and trimmed economic growth forecasts. Erdogan said at the time: “With the support of tight monetary policy, we will bring down inflation to single digits again.”
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell made clear Wednesday the central bank is close to done raising interest rates, but his colleagues delivered the message that resonated: Borrowing costs must remain higher for longer amid renewed strength in the economy.After a series of rapid rate hikes over the past 18 months, the Fed can now “proceed carefully,” Powell said — a sentiment he repeated at least a dozen times Wednesday during a press conference that followed the central bank’s decision to leave rates unchanged.In quarterly economic projections released following a two-day policy meeting, 12 of 19 Fed officials said they still expect to raise rates once more this year. The bigger takeaway for investors was the revelation that policymakers see fewer rate cuts than previously anticipated in 2024, in part due to a stronger labour market.The projections also showed they expect inflation to fall below 3% next year, and return to their 2% target by 2026. In other words, the “soft landing” for the US economy that looked more remote three months ago now seems within reach.“They’re basically saying that a soft landing scenario is going to be met with tighter policy,” said Brett Ryan, a senior US economist at Deutsche Bank AG. “That was the main takeaway.”The US economy has so far been resilient against the Fed’s historic tightening campaign, which lifted the target range for the federal funds rate from nearly zero in March 2022 to 5.25% to 5.5% in July, a 22-year high. Consumer spending remains strong and the labour market has been steady, though job growth is starting to moderate.That strength bodes well for the Fed’s efforts to cool inflation without sending the economy into a recession, but it’s also raised concern at the central bank that the inflation fight could be prolonged.The new projections reflected that. Fed officials now expect their benchmark rate to be at 5.1% by the end of next year, according to their median estimate, up from 4.6% in the last projection round in June.During the press conference, Powell stressed that policymakers are facing a high amount of uncertainty, and seemed determined not to give markets any reason to rally.Treasuries sold off after the decision, with the yields on two-, five- and 10-year US government bonds all rising to the highest in more than a decade. Wednesday’s 0.9% drop for the S&P 500 was the second-worst this year on a Fed day, second only to the 1.7% decline registered in March.“If you were really looking for the worst piece of news, it’s not necessarily that we’re going higher but that we’re staying longer — that’s the new narrative,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth. “It’s not how high, but how long.” The Fed chief also cautioned that a soft-landing scenario was not yet guaranteed, saying it was not the Fed’s baseline expectation — despite what the latest projections implied.“Ultimately, this may be decided by factors that are outside our control,” Powell said, though he later added that a soft landing is “what we’ve been trying to achieve for all this time.”
Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi, acting chief executive officer of the Qatar Stock Exchange, on Thursday met with Zhao Weijiu, deputy director of the office of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Local Financial Regulation (BMBLFR); Wang Weichao, the Doha General Manager of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; and the accompanying delegation. During the meeting, discussions focused on ways to establish co-operation between both sides to develop the capital market and explore suitable mechanisms for dual listing opportunities in both markets.
HE the Minister of Finance, Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari held bilateral talks with Christopher Hui Cheng Yu, Hong Kong's Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury, during the latter's visit to Doha. During the meeting, a wide range of issues pertaining to common interests were discussed, especially in economics and finance, as well as ways to expand co-operation.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker was celebrated by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) as the recipient of the ‘CEO Lifetime Achievement Award’, which recognises industry leaders for their dedication, efforts and commitment to enhancing passenger experience.The APEX/IFSA Awards Ceremony took place at APEX/IFSA Global EXPO in Long Beach, California on Wednesday, where al- Baker also accepted three awards for the airline.APEX is one of the world’s largest international airline associations. This global non-profit advances passenger experience with the support of major airlines in conjunction with both the International Flight Services Association and Future Travel Experience.“The APEX CEO Lifetime Achievement Award has only been awarded six times in the organisation’s five-decade history, including the latest award received by al-Baker.“This prestigious award is selectively awarded to industry leaders and visionaries who inspire progress across the aviation landscape while also elevating their brands,” Qatar Airways said yesterday.Qatar Airways was also awarded with three more APEX Awards, “solidifying” the airline’s status as one of the world’s leading airlines.The following titles presented to Qatar Airways were based exclusively on certified passenger votes: 2024 APEX World Class Award, APEX Award for Best Entertainment in the Middle East, and the APEX Award for Global Best Food & Beverage.Al-Baker said, “I am honoured to accept the CEO Lifetime Achievement Award from the Airline Passenger Experience Association. Over the last decades, Qatar Airways has grown to become one of the most recognisable and trusted names in the industry, synonymous with customer service quality and luxury. It is owing to the dedication of our employees across the world that our award-winning airline continues to outperform at the highest level of our industry.”“I am also proud of the three awards Qatar Airways has received, granted by our passengers, taking home the awards for best World Class Airline, Best Entertainment in the Middle East, and Global Best Food & Beverage. I would like to thank our passengers as well as the APEX team for their recognition and we aim to continue to surpass all expectations for Qatar Airways in the years to come.”APEX chief executive officer, Dr Joe Leader said, “In honouring HE Mr Akbar al-Baker with the CEO Lifetime Achievement Award, APEX celebrates a true pioneer in aviation. HE Mr al-Baker's leadership at Qatar Airways embodies the spirit of innovation, marrying the grandeur of Qatari tradition with an unyielding commitment to passenger excellence.“Whether it is the trailblazing Qsuite experience, an exceptional in-flight entertainment library, or the airline's unwavering focus on health during unprecedented times, his legacy paints a mosaic of dedication, foresight, and a relentless drive for perfection.“Under his masterful oversight, Qatar Airways has not just flown; the airline has soared, setting benchmarks that inspire our entire industry. As he receives this well-deserved accolade, we, at APEX, extend our deepest admiration for a leader who has truly redefined the skies.”
Qatar is second in the Middle East terms of median download speeds for both 4G and 5G at 68.63Mbps and 462.96Mbps, respectively, global network intelligence and connectivity insights firm Ookla said in a research report.The research showed Qatar has the “third highest game score” in the Middle East at 82.81 on a 100-point scale.“This result reflects the superior mobile network performance in the Qatar market, which helps to deliver a good gaming experience,” Ookla noted.Game scores were consistently higher for 5G than 4G users in all GCC countries, it said.The gaming experience benefits from the larger bandwidth and lower latency offered by 5G, contributing to smoother and more responsive gameplay. Game scores on 4G lagged those on 5G by a range from 5.37% in Oman to 8.26% in Saudi Arabia.GCC operators have the potential to improve the gaming experience by continuing to improve their 5G infrastructure, migrating more customers to 5G, and establishing local gaming servers, Ookla said.The region benefits from a large youth demographic, a growing casual gaming base, widespread smartphone adoption, and high-speed Internet access. Operators and governments are also helping to increase public engagement in gaming.Most casual gamers should be able to enjoy a smooth experience over 5G thanks to fast download and upload speeds, but some latency-sensitive games (like multiplayer shooters) may have noticeable lags. Mobile operators can explore different approaches (such as deploying edge computing infrastructure) to improve game responsiveness and prepare their networks for more data-intensive games.Download speed is essential in creating a smooth gaming experience without interruptions or degradations in streaming quality. High download speeds are also important for downloading digitally distributed games and updates, Ookla said.Download speed requirements for online mobile gaming vary depending on the game type (for example, cloud gaming needs higher bandwidth than a game played on a smartphone), gamer profile (for example, competitive gamers will need higher bandwidth than casual players) and use cases (for example, downloading game updates compared to playing preload games).In its analysis, Ookla assumed that 25Mbps was the minimum download speed to enjoy a good gaming experience for casual gamers (who represent the majority of gamers).According to Ookla’s data, all GCC markets comfortably exceed that requirement on 4G and surpass it significantly on 5G.The median 5G speed across GCC countries was 6.8 times faster than the median 4G speed (345.53Mbps vs. 43.9Mbps).Upload speed also plays an essential role in creating a smooth gaming experience without interruptions or quality degradation, particularly in multiplayer games, it said.Ookla used 3Mbps as a reference point based on the recommended minimum upload speed for a good gaming experience for casual gamers.Ookla’s data shows that GCC markets are “crushing it when it comes to exceeding” upload requirements for both 4G and 5G.In absolute terms, Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE offer the fastest upload speeds, reaching a maximum of 38.48Mbps for the latter, Ookla noted.“The GCC region has a vibrant and untapped gaming market poised for tremendous growth. This potential hinges on the robustness of the telecoms infrastructure. Gulf operators’ investments in 5G infrastructure helped them climb Ookla’s Game Score leaderboard and demonstrated their commitment to putting their countries on the gaming map.“Operators can continue to improve the gaming experience and further minimise latency by deploying local gaming servers, edge computing infrastructure, and 5G SA to make games more responsive and smooth. These improvements will put the region in an even better position to lead game development and foster the local gaming ecosystem,” noted Karim Yaici, lead industry analyst at Ookla.
QTerminals, a terminal operating company jointly established by Mwani Qatar and Milaha, has officially completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Kramer Holding, a provider of integrated logistics and container services located in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.This was announced by QTerminals in its social medial platform X.The acquisition represents an important milestone in the expansion of QTerminals, as the Port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe and is a significant addition to QTerminals group’s diversification.It further reinforces the QTerminals Group’s commitment to contributing towards the Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims for the diversification of the national economy and foreign investments."Kramer Group is an important strategic step for QTerminals as we will expand our presence into Europe’s largest port. Kramer Group complements QTerminals and adds existing business, a robust value-creating service offering and European network to QTerminals portfolio," QTerminals Group CEO Neville Bissett had said earlier.QTerminals will retain Kramer’s key management personnel and employees, including Andre Kramer, who will continue as the chief executive officer.Kramer Group has both core and strategic importance to the Port of Rotterdam, as it supplements the port’s activities whilst having direct access to the deep-sea terminals of the Port of Rotterdam.The Kramer Group is an integrated container handling and storage, terminal, container development and logistics services provider, located in the Port of Rotterdam, and is the only independent terminal in the Maasvlakte area, and one of the few multi-user depot terminals in the port.The acquisition of the Kramer Group by QTerminals allows its entry and presence in the largest port in Europe which makes QTerminals Group’s position stronger in relation to future opportunities in Europe and other developed global markets.The presence of QTerminals in the Port of Rotterdam is strategic and reputable for QTerminals Group in particular and for Qatar in general as QTerminals' profile will become known in the largest European port.By acquiring Kramer Group, QTerminals will continue to develop its world leading technical and operational know-how to enhance and optimize its potential as one of the leading providers of integrated container logistics services in Europe.
The aviation sector continues to face a "persistent cybersecurity threat." It follows a US agency directive that compels the aviation industry to improve their defences against malicious hackers and cybercriminals, after President Biden announced its National Cybersecurity Strategy that seeks tighter regulations to protect the US critical infrastructure.Announcing its new cybersecurity requirements, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) explained that airport and aircraft operators must develop a TSA-approved plan that explains what they are doing to "prevent disruption and degradation to their infrastructure."Airlines continue to be an irresistible target for cybercriminals, with around $1bn a year lost from fraudulent websites alone. Add to that data theft, card fraud, air miles fraud, phishing, fake invoices and more, and you have a perfect storm for a part of the industry that continues to reel from the pandemic. Every week, an aviation company suffers a ransomware attack somewhere in the world, with big impacts on productivity and business continuity, let alone data loss and/or costly extortion demands paid to restart operations.Thankfully, no impact on flight safety has yet been reported – but that is no grounds for complacency, with state-sponsored or highly organised crime syndicates capable of conducting large-scale targeted intrusions that aim at massive disruption as much as financial gain.In Europe, a Eurocontrol report has found that many aviation businesses, including in the supply chain, are exposing themselves to extra risk by not systematically applying basic IT security controls.61% of all identified cyber-attacks in 2020 targeted airlines, almost twice as much as the two next largest market segments combined (16% manufacturers, 15% airports). Most of these attacks – 95% – were financially motivated: 739 out of 775 incidents. This led to financial loss in 55% of cases, and the leaking or theft of personal data in an additional 34% of cases.The fake airline ticket business is extremely lucrative: The average value of a purchase is significantly higher than that of a legitimate purchase, and “fraudsters are drawn to the profit margins on airline ticket fraud – where the average cost of a fake ticket, at around $1,930, is almost triple that of a legitimate purchase (on average $606).Airline loyalty programme accounts are a hugely attractive target for fraudsters, and the pandemic has accelerated criminal interest as airlines began returning money via loyalty accounts to passengers whose flights had been cancelled owing to the pandemic, or extending the validity period of accumulated miles. In 2020, around 30 airlines had 15,493 passenger loyalty accounts on offer on the dark web, worth over $400,000. The total market value of unredeemed miles is enormous – estimated by IATA at $238bn. During the pandemic, the average value of a compromised account rose by 48% between the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2020.With aviation moving towards introducing more and more digitalisation thanks to new technologies and concepts using non-aviation specific means (eg. Cloud, 5G, Internet, satellite communications and navigation), it’s somewhat inevitable that there has been an increase in the number of aviation actors potentially impacted by a cyberattack.The challenge now lies in making aviation systems/services progressively more and more cyber-resilient while remaining safe and cost-effective.“Protecting our nation’s transportation system is our highest priority and TSA will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders across all transportation modes to reduce cybersecurity risks and improve cyber resilience to support safe, secure and efficient travel,” said US TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “This amendment to the aviation security programmes extends similar performance-based requirements that currently apply to other transportation system critical infrastructure.”Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is one airline to have posted an alert warning passengers that a recent multi-hour outage of its website and mobile app was caused by a cyberattack that also exposed customer data. The cyberattack caused some form of a malfunction on the airline's online system, causing passenger data to become visible to other passengers. This data includes contact details, previous and upcoming flights, as well the last four digits of the credit card number.When suffering the cyberattack, it stated: “Last night SAS, alongside several other companies, were subjected to a cyberattack that led to our website and app being down for a few hours. Furthermore, some passengers' data became visible to other passengers who were active during the ongoing attack.”Portugal’s national airline TAP Air Portugal had previously confirmed hackers obtained the personal data of some of its customers and have published the information on the dark web. No payment data was taken in the cyberattack, the flag carrier said in a statement.In the Portugal scenario, the attack began weeks before and was later investigated by Portuguese authorities, with the help of specialists from Microsoft. Portuguese newspaper Expresso said a hacker group was offering the information of 1.5mn TAP Air Portugal customers on the dark web.The author is an aviation analyst. Twitter handle: @AlexInAir
Qatar's industrial production rose 1.6% year-on-year in July 2023 on faster extraction of hydrocarbons and higher growth in certain non-oil sectors such as beverages and food products, according to official data.The country's industrial production index (IPI), shot up 2.2% on a monthly basis in the review period, according to the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).The PSA introduced IPI, a short-term quantitative index that measures the changes in the volume of production of a selected basket of industrial products over a given period, with respect to a base period 2013.The mining and quarrying index, which has a relative weight of 82.46%, zoomed 2.1% on a yearly basis on a 2.1% increase in the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas, even as other mining and quarrying sectors shrank 3.3%.On a monthly basis, the sector index was seen gaining 2.2% owing to a 2.2% surge in the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas, whereas other mining and quarrying sectors plummeted 4.8% in the review period.However, the manufacturing index, with a relative weight of 15.85%, shrank 1.4% year-on-year this July as there was a 9.1% plunge in printing and reproduction of recorded media, 7.1% in refined petroleum products, 5.9% in rubber and plastics products, and 4.1% in cement and other non-metallic mineral products.Nevertheless, there was a 5.2% jump in the production of beverages, 2.9% in food products, 0.9% in basic metals and 0.1% in chemicals and chemical products in the review period.On a monthly basis, the manufacturing index shot up 1.4% in July 2023 owing to 4.5% increase in the production of refined petroleum products, 4.1% in basic metals, 3.9% in rubber and plastics products, 1.3% in beverages and 1% in chemicals and chemical products. However, there was a 5.3% decline in the production of cement and other non-metallic mineral products in the review period.Electricity, which has a 1.16% weight in the IPI basket, saw its index surge 4.3% and 13.1% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively in July 2023.In the case of water, which has a 0.53% weight, the index was seen expanding 0.7% and 0.4% % on annual and monthly basis respectively in the review period.
Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been ranked second in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East Region for “total connectivity”, according to the latest Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific and Middle East (ACI APAC & MID) Airport Connectivity Index 2023.This “exceptional accomplishment” underscores HIA’s “unwavering commitment to providing exceptional connectivity” for travellers worldwide.As one of the fastest-growing aviation markets concerning air connectivity relative to its population, the airport plays a pivotal role in nurturing global connections.Developed in partnership with PwC, the ACI APAC & MID Airport Connectivity Report measures passengers’ ability to access global air transport network, capturing both direct and indirect routes also factoring in quality of the service of each connection, such as destination choice, service frequency, onward connectivity, price, contributing to the passenger experience.The report was announced at the launch of the ACI APAC & MID Middle East office in Riyadh.HIA chief operating officer Badr Mohamed al-Meer said: "The findings of the report further validates Hamad International Airport’s investment towards expanding its capacity through its multi-phased airport expansion project, which enables future growth and further connectivity building. This ultimately boosts local and global tourism and the aviation industry as a whole.”“The Middle East stands out for its growth rate for total connectivity and has showcased the strongest recovery post Covid-19 according to the report,” Badr concluded.Stefano Baronci, Director-General, ACI Asia-Pacific and Middle East (ACI APAC & MID), said: “Congratulations to Hamad Airport for its consistent efforts to enhance its air connectivity network. This serves as a testament to Hamad Airport's unwavering dedication to delivering a broader air connectivity, connecting people and places globally.”Regarding its airline network, HIA now connects to over 170 destinations, cementing Qatar's reputation as the ultimate travel and sporting destination.Apart from its national carrier, Qatar Airways’ rapid expansion this year, Hamad International Airport’s position in ACI’s air route connectivity index is also contributed by the commencement of multiple new airline partners, namely American Airlines, Finnair, Malaysia Airlines and Air Algerie and the resumption of Royal Air Maroc, which has allowed the airport’s connectivity to various destinations in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia and North Africa.During H1, 2023, the airport experienced an “impressive” 33.5% increase in passenger traffic. Over 20mn passengers were welcomed to the facility, reaffirming its status as the favoured hub for millions of travellers.HIA embarked on its expansion journey with the introduction of Phase A of the growth plan in November 2022, featuring the spectacular indoor tropical garden known as Orchard.Phase B of the expansion plan, initiated in 2023, is set to significantly increase capacity to over 70mn passengers annually. This expansion is poised to solidify Hamad International Airport's position as an industry leader, especially in light of the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) projection that passenger numbers in the Middle East will double by 2040.
The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the GCC Accreditation Centre (GAC) to collaborate in the area of conformity assessment and accreditation and develop sustainable solutions for the petrochemical and chemical industry in the GCC region that will contribute to establishing a robust quality infrastructure.The MoU will establish a framework that aims to improve the efficiency of conformity assessment processes in the region and ensure that chemical and petrochemical products and processes meet specified standards and regulations.Additionally, it is aimed at streamlining accreditation procedures, fostering conformity across various certification activities, and establishing a robust quality infrastructure within the GCC region.Recognising the critical importance of environmental preservation, the MoU highlights a shared commitment by both GPCA and GAC to combatting plastic waste.The agreement will involve the adoption of an efficient plastic pellets, flakes and powder management scheme to address plastic material leakage and safeguard marine environments and marine wealth regionally and globally, underlying GPCA members’ commitment to the Operation Clean Sweep programme and foster a sustainable and circular plastic economy.Dr. Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, Secretary-General, GPCA, commented: “I welcome this valuable partnership with the Gulf Accreditation Centre, which marks a significant milestone in the history of the region’s chemical and petrochemical industry, underlying its commitment to accountability, transparency and compliance. Together we will collaborate closely on raising the bar and welcoming a new era in conformity assessment and accreditation across the industry in the region.”Moteb al-Mezani, Director-General, GAC, commented: “We are thrilled to support the initiatives of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) and contribute with GAC internationally recognised accreditation services to achieve the goals of this memorandum of understanding that reflects our joint dedication to fostering excellence and sustainability in the chemical and petrochemical industry within the GCC region.“Together, we will pave the way for a future marked by accountability, transparency, and compliance, ensuring that our industry meets the highest standards and contributes to a cleaner, more environmentally responsible world.”
Private sector has proven to be a genuine partner in achieving sustainability and addressing challenges facing countries, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani has told UN (United Nations) Private Sector Forum 2023.The forum was held on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and in conjunction with the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Summit 2023 in New York.Sheikh Khalifa also emphasised the pivotal role played by the Qatari private sector through the implementation of specific projects, especially by way of the PPP (public private partnership) system, relating to sustainability and innovation, such as solar power projects, water and electricity connectivity, education, health, roads, transport, and others."The forum represented an opportunity to highlight the pivotal role of private sector in realising the UN global targets," Sheikh Khalifa said, stressing that businesses can shape solutions for world challenges, such as climate, health, global economic growth, and more.This year’s UN Private Sector Forum focused on ways the private sector can work together with other stakeholders to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 agenda on SDGs and reviewed how the private sector can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.Organised by the UN Global Compact, the International Chamber of Commerce, and UN DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) in collaboration with a number of other supporting partners, the forum brought together chief executives, heads of state and government, and UN leaders and representatives of private sector and international companies.
To further boost its sourcing operations and to bring in high quality products for its large chain of hypermarkets, GCC-based retail giant LuLu group officially opened its world-class sourcing, food processing and export hub in Italy yesterday.Y International Italia, the sourcing division of LuLu Group was inaugurated by Guido Guidesi, Minister of Economic Development of Lombardy Region in the presence of Yusuffali MA, Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group.Also present on the occasion were Roberto Rizzardo, head, FDI Department of Invitalia; Valerio Soldani, Director of Italian Trade Agency; Naser al-Khaja, Charge d’affaires at the UAE Embassy in Italy; Dr Nasser al-Balooshi, Bahrain ambassador to Italy; Cesare Trevisani, Chairman of Arab Chamber of Commerce of Italy; Dr Mohamed Althaf, Director of LuLu Group International; Alessandro Simone, Country Head of LuLu Group in Italy, and other officials.This move by the LuLu Group will further boost its sourcing operations not only from Italy but also from nearby European countries to ensure uninterrupted supply and price stability of food products.Ideally located at World Trade Center Malpensa Airport in Milan, the state-of-the-art facility will primarily focus on sourcing, processing, storing, packaging, and exporting of top-quality food products from Italy to more than 255 LuLu Hypermarkets spread across GCC countries, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.The focus categories will be varieties of cheeses, chocolates, fruit jams, sweet and puff pastries, organic pasta, infused extra-virgin olive oil, and high-quality sea-salt from well-known Italian brands. Apart from packed food the centre will also source and export a wide range of fruits and vegetables mainly apples, grapes, kiwi, olives, etc.Guidesi expressed his excitement in having LuLu Group’s new project in Italy and assured the highest level of support and co-operation that will further enhance trade ties between Italy and the Arab world.Speaking at the inauguration, Yusuffali said, “As a key partner in the “food security” sector in the Middle East, it is our ongoing strategy to set up our own sourcing and food processing units around the world to ensure uninterrupted supply and ensure competitive pricing by eliminating middlemen.“Italy has some unique cuisines, vast variety of fruits, vegetables and various commodities and we are working closely with the Italian Trade Agency to boost the export of these products to our hypermarkets. We will be working closely with all stakeholders to promote the Italian brands by organising “Italian Food Festivals” across our hypermarkets” said Yusuffali.“We will be initially exporting worth €50mn and expect to reach €200mn in two years. We are tying up with farmers’ co-operative societies to source fruits and vegetables, which will surely have a very positive impact on the agricultural sector of Italy. In addition this project will also generate significant employment in Italy” added Yusuffali.GCC-based LuLu Group has an annual turnover of $8bn and employs over 65,000 people from 43 different countries ranked as the No1 retailer in the Middle East & North Africa region and as one of the Top 50 fastest growing retailers in the world by Deloitte.The Group has similar food processing centres in the UK, the USA, Spain, Turkiye, Vietnam, Thailand, China, South Africa among others.
HE the Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari on Tuesday met with Sergio Ermotti, CEO, UBS Group AG and President of the Executive Board of UBS AG, during his current visit to Switzerland. During the meeting, they discussed a variety of topics of mutual interest, specifically in finance and economics, as well as ways to enhance the relationship.
The Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) held a joint seminar and panel discussion with leading international professionals on the role of expert witnesses.The discussion, titled ‘The Role of Expert Witnesses in International Commercial Dispute Resolution’, was held in cooperation with Reed Smith, Crowell & Moring, and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Middle East in Qatar.The panel speakers included Robin Knowles, Judge of the Commercial Court of England and Wales; Reed Smith, Dubai Partner Antonia Birt; PwC Dispute Advisory Centre of Excellence Leader and EMEA Forensic Co-Leader Sirshar Qureshi; and Crowell & Moring Doha office Counsel Matthew Williams.This event explored the role of the expert witnesses in international commercial litigation. Expert witnesses are not called as a matter of course, they are only used where the subject area is such that the court is not able itself to address a matter without the assistance of an expert.The session began with opening remarks from the QICDRC registrar, regarding why expert witnesses might be needed, how they fit into the litigation process in the common law courts, and the contours of their role in that legal tradition. This was followed by the panel discussion, where experts weighed in on the role and importance of expert witnesses.Expert witnesses can be critical in litigation, but the precise ambit of their roles is not always clear.With the help of today’s panel, the role of experts in international commercial litigation in courts was explained in detail, including to whom they owe their primary duties, the mechanics of their evidence, and what the court would expect of them in the witness box."The audience was well-informed and engaged. The issues we discussed are of great importance and, the way in which we receive expert witness evidence in England and Wales is of direct relevance to the way in which it is received in Courts such as this. I hope that all who attended found it useful,” said Knowles.
The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) Tuesday launched the Single Window E-Portal aimed at modernising the country’s capital market by easing and streamlining the listing process.The companies would be able to submit the related applications via the single window E-Portal, which has been developed on the QFMA website.The "Single Window for the Capital Market" is a qualitative initiative of QFMA, through which a new mechanism is developed to enhance co-operation and co-ordination among all relevant official authorities that deal with the issuers wishing to make public offering or listing of securities in any of the markets subject to QFMA's jurisdiction."This has a significant impact in preventing duplication of documents and data required from each of the parties concerned and providing a unified list of such documents and data in every case of their dealings in the Qatari financial markets," QFMA said.The single window will have major implications in significantly simplifying the procedures for such companies by limiting their dealings with only one entity instead of approaching other competent authorities separately, including QFMA, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), and Edaa (formerly Qatar Central Securities Depository Company).The QFMA is making great efforts to improve the Qatari capital market, develop the financial services, protect the investments of the market participants, remove all obstacles and maximise the returns so as to make the country attractive for national and foreign investments.For the single window, Dr Tamy bin Ahmad al-Binali, chief executive officer of QFMA, had announced a special committee responsible for receiving, studying and reviewing applications for securities' offering and listing, admission to trading applications on QSE, and applications for registration with Edaa by various means.The 11-member committee – which has five members from QFMA, four from QSE, and one each from MoCI and Edaa - will ensure that the firms complete all requirements contained in the relevant legislation, especially with regard to offering prospectus and financial evaluation reports, as well as studying and reviewing acquisition and merger applications in which one of the parties is a company listed on the financial markets, and requests for voluntary delisting from the markets.The launch also comes in light of the continuous development and modernisation of the capital market regulations and legislation in the country, and in keeping with the global changes taking place in this vital sector.The launch of single window committee comes amid reports of more listings expected, considering that the procedural reforms as direct listing and book-building mechanism ought to attract more companies.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.
Today’s global economy is more dynamic than ever; various concerns are coming to the mind of many investors about the future of global economy related to the expectations of potential recession, further interest rate hikes, inflation, and the future of the dollarized world all of which will be discussed in this article.The global economy is suffering from accelerating inflation reaching high levels which has no not been experienced since the last 40 years. Major advanced economies, including the eurozone, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are dealing with significant inflation, which peaked in the United States in June 2022 at 9%.When we have a detailed lock at the main causes of inflation over various regions, we can notice that the main driver of higher prices is related to the supply side. Factors like supply chain disruption, the lockdown period, energy and food crisis arising from the Russian-Ukrainian war, all of which reinforced inflation.As an attempt to mitigate inflation, the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks adopted tightening of the monetary policy tool by raising interest rates since March 2022 to reach around 5.5% in July 2023, which was also followed by a proportional increase by the Qatar Central Bank. This massive increase in Fed interest rates affected financial stability and caused several bankruptcies, like the collapse of Silicon Valley and First Republic Banks.However, did leveraged interest rates succeed in combating inflation?After more than a year of high interest rates, inflation has successfully decreased from over 9% to 3.18% in July 2023. But, despite this remarkable decline, are high interest rates the primary cause?Unfortunately, no.The reopening of major economies like China and the declining prices of food and energy are the main causes responsible for this sharp drop in inflation. On the other hand, we notice that core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, is 4.65%, which is significantly higher than the target rate of 2%. As a result, we cannot expect to achieve the target inflation rate anytime soon especially with low unemployment rate of 3.8%, as historically high employment level complicates the Fed’s job.Bank of America is predicting another 25-basis point rate hike this year, with expectations that the Fed would then maintain rates constant until May of the following year. However, rising interest rates could also be a factor contributing to inflation as they increase the financial burden on producers, which could be reflected in higher prices.Accordingly, inflation is anticipated to reach the Fed’s objective by the mid of 2024, and rate cuts are anticipated to begin when the US could enter a recession by mid-2024, all of which will be reflected on Qatar’s economy.Predictions are of a modest recession in the first or second quarter of 2024. The severity of the economic downturn will determine how quickly interest rates are reduced; in the case of a mild recession, a gradual rather than a rapid reduction is expected. In contrast, with GDP growth maintaining positive rates and unemployment close to its natural level, Bank of America and other large institutions are reassessing their previous calls for a mild recession in 2024 and increased chances for a soft landing.However, even if the US avoids falling into a recession, the global economy will still suffer from lower demand as China, which the second largest economy and a main driver of global demand, is suffering from an economic slowdown. China’s post-Covid reopening bounce started to fade due to lower demand and a crisis in the real estate sector, which accounts for around 30% of China’s GDP, and real estate developers experiencing financial difficulties.Additionally, demographic changes, a high rate of youth unemployment (21.3% in June), high capital outflows as a result of firms relocating, interest rate discrepancies, and a decline in economic activity are all problems facing China. As a result, foreign investors withdrew more than $10bn from the Chinese stock market and China’s potential GDP growth is expected to decline from above 6% to less than 5% in the upcoming five years.Due to China’s economic decline, large economies in Asia, particularly Japan, are reporting a drop in their exports.Qatar’s exports are also expected to get affected as exports to China is equivalent to $20.78bn.China’s lower demand will act as disinflationary force helping countries like the eurozone, US and the UK to reach their inflation target but pulling the global economy towards economic downturn.Other large economies like the UK and eurozone are also not in their ideal situations, with expectations of a substantial decline in growth rates to 0.5% and 1%, respectively, in 2024, compared to growth exceeding 3.5% in 2022. These several economic indicators suggest that the world economy is on the edge of a slump.Emerging economies are heading into a debt crisis as a result of rising borrowing costs and a stronger dollar brought on by leveraged interest rates. The higher debt servicing costs along with the appreciating value of dollar are inflating their loans and increasing the financial burden on them. Countries like Lebanon, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Tunisia are suffering from high levels of debt.Higher interest rates, along with weaker local and international demand, have a detrimental influence on corporations and the financial market. Leveraged rates are affecting corporate earnings as a result of higher debt servicing cost, which is reflected in share prices.Although the US stock market has been robust, corporations and financial markets are still anticipated to decline further as more hikes are anticipated and high rates often have more significant consequences after six months. Additionally, the stock markets continue to become worse as a result of higher bond market yields pulling in more investors.Speaking locally, we can say that the main cause of Qatar’s inflation tends to be more imported inflation. The country’s inflation rate has significantly decreased from 6% in October in the previous year to 3.1% in July with core inflation remaining relatively lower than many countries. Qatar needs to reduce the consequences of the Fed’s tightening policy because its core inflation is relatively lower and doesn’t need this level of tightness.Thus, in light of the global increase in interest rates the QCB exempted customers from paying any additional costs on consumer financing, on loans given against customers’ salaries, and on loans given to some important sectors in the country like hospitality, housing, manufacturing and retail.Expectations are that the non-energy sectors will substantially expand in 2023-24 with the PMI index moving in the right direction. Furthermore, the North Field expansion is expected to boost future growth as exports are projected to rise from by 33mn tonnes by 2025.As a consequence, Qatar’s current account surplus should remain large helping the country to continue taking over more foreign assets.The heavily dollarised financial systems, which make up more than 80% of trade on the global foreign exchange market, are attracting the attention of the Brics, who are making ongoing attempts to reduce the use of the dollar in their trade and have suggested the creation of a potential common currency among them. These efforts started to be taken more seriously, particularly after increased US sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. As a step toward de-dollarisation, trade between Russia and India was conducted in their national currencies; however, due to exchange risk exposure and the low trading volume of the Indian rupee, Russia opted to halt trade in that currency.To determine the possibility of uniting the monetary system, we should first have a comparison with the European Union, which demonstrates a successful version of unity.Firstly, the euro nations have a high level of political and economic consensus, along with being geographically close to each other. Secondly, the eurozone countries enjoy a free trade agreement.All of these are aspects in which Brics members fall short, as there is a lack of political harmony, particularly between China and India, with not all members being close geographically, and no free trade agreements taking place.Thus, considering how fragmented these nations are, the idea of creating a single currency for Brics members and unifying the monetary system is unlikely to happen soon. Even if we assume that the concept of a single currency will soon exist, we may look to the possession of the euro since its introduction to get a sense of how robust the dollar dominance is given that, after more than 20 years since the euro’s introduction, its share of world trade is still not threatening the dollar’s dominance.Since the formation of the Brics alliance in 2009, the dollar’s trade has been unaffected by these efforts and has maintained its dominance of more than 80% of trade in the world’s foreign exchange transactions, with this proportion being stable over the past 20 years. Meaning that, the dollar’s power has not yet been threatened by the Brics. The formation of the new development bank is intended to be an alternative for the IMF, particularly for Brics members, despite the fact that the bank is still issuing most of its lending in dollars.Since the dollar is the most prevalent currency in the global debt market, additional de-dollarisation efforts are required, such as building a robust debt market away from the dollar, which means that the Brics should concentrate on issuing debt in their own currencies. As a step further towards de-dollarisation, the bank aims to increase local currency lending from about 22% to 30% by 2026.Recently, in an effort to promote trade and de-dollarise the economy, the Brics invited six countries, including the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina and Ethiopia. Brics countries are continuously trying to reinforce trade in their local currencies, with expectations that more currencies like the Chinese yuan will play a greater role in the future.On the other hand, we should keep in mind that the US has a long-standing global network of alliances and partnerships, particularly with potential new members like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, so a rapid and substantial de-dollarisation is not expected.In conclusion, even if the United States managed to avoid a recession, this will help to lessen the severity of the upcoming downturn, but the global economy is still expected to experience a significant fall since other major economies are slowing down. Furthermore, inflation has surged recently, but declining population growth and artificial intelligence are strong disinflationary forces effecting long run inflation.Even more, despite forecasts that other currencies may have a bigger role in the future, the dollar is still anticipated to be the primary reserve and trading currency. Developed countries have a list of long-term challenges including higher energy costs, transition to renewable energy, ageing population, high public debt and future pension obligations, surge in global debt and supply chain bottlenecks.Mohamed Fahad Hussain Alemadi is senior student at Qatar University, studying Finance and Economics
Business and finance professionals of Pakistan gathered in Doha to deliberate on matters relating to taxation in Qatar for businesses and the tax obligations of non-resident Pakistanis.These were discussed threadbare at a forum for the members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) and other Pakistani entrepreneurs at the Pakistan Embassy. The event was hosted by the managing committee of the Qatar chapter of ICAP in collaboration with the Pakistan Embassy in Qatar.The ambassador of Pakistan to Qatar, Dr Muhemed Aejaz, was the chief guest for the event, along with Fawad Rana, president of the Pakistan Business and Professional Council in Qatar.Aejaz, addressed the gathering and highlighted the key role that Pakistani chartered accountants play in the Qatar economy as well as in their home countries.Mahmood Arshad, chairman of the Pakistan Qatar Business Council of FPCCI (Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry) also joined as a chief guest. Trade and Investment Attaché, Serein Asad, and Community Welfare Attaché, Arslan Khan Tanoli, were also present at the event.The ICAP delegation presented Golden Jubilee shields to ICAP members who have been members for more than 25 years. These included Shaikh Mahmood Habib, Amir Mehmood, and Mohamed Asif Silat.Saifullah Khan, Chairman of OCC ICAP; Arshad; Rana; M Ali Latif, President of ICAP; and Sheraz Mehdi, chairman of the Qatar chapter, addressed the gathering.