An unusual year 2020, which faced the challenges related to Covid-19, witnessed that investors made a robust double-digit gain, especially in the transport, real estate and telecom sectors on the Qatar Stock Exchange, whose key index otherwise edged up marginally year-on-year.
Against the 0.1% year-to-date jump in the 20-stock Qatar Index at the end of December 31, 2020, the transport index was seen surging 29.02%, real estate (23.24%), telecom (12.92%), industrials (5.66%) and banks and financial services (0.65%); even as insurance and consumer goods and services declined 12.38% and 5.83% respectively.
Strikingly, the telecom and transport sectors exhibited strong earnings in the first nine months of this year, although the cumulative net profitability of all the listed companies were on the downswing in Qatar, whose ambitious structural reform agenda underpins its economic diversification efforts to enhance long-term potential growth, as per the International Monetary Fund report.
While the Covid-19-related lockdown had its initial repercussions on the QSE, the market regained its natural momentum with the government swiftly taking proactive measures in the form of a QR75bn package for the private sector and an additional QR10bn capital support to the listed companies.
The Covid-19 package, especially the QR10bn fund support to the listed entities, has considerably enhanced investors' confidence in Doha’s capital market, as reflected in "significant" increase in average daily trade turnover, QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori had opined.
The far-sighted legislative reforms and modernisation such as enactment of public private partnership law and ease of foreign entry into the real estate sector had their positive contribution in lifting the sentiments on the QSE, which in 2020 received digital access certification for its website from the Assistive Technology Centre.
Towards the end of 2020, the 2021 budget and the hopes of resolve in the Gulf crisis also had their influence on the QSE, whose year-to-date performance was back in the positive trajectory, albeit at lower levels; but capitalisation gained more than 3% year-on-year, mainly on the back of mid and small cap segments.
About 66% of the traded constituents were seen extending gains to investors on the bourse in 2020, which saw a total of 55.16bn shares valued at QR105.78bn change hands across 2.29mn transactions.
As many as 27.88mn exchange traded funds valued QR79.87mn trade across 2,231 deals in 2020, which saw Qatari and foreign investors turn net buyers; whereas the Gulf and Arab investors were seen net profit takers on the QSE, which was seen partnering in 2020 with TradingView, a New York-based firm offering interactive charts and technical analysis.
In the debt market, the bourse saw a total of 0.99mn sovereign bonds valued at QR9.87bn change hands across 19 transactions and as many as 10,000 treasury bills worth QR99.77mn trade across one deal in 2020, which saw the QSE launch its Q-Disclosure platform to facilitate financial and non-financial disclosures.
A total of 11.06bn banks and financial services stocks valued at QR38.19bn trade across 717,493 transactions. In the case of the consumer goods and services, a total of 8.53mn equities valued at QR14.31bn changed hands across 316,580 deals.
The industrials sector saw 15.19mn scrips worth QR18.58mn trade across 484,319 transactions and as many as 1.36bn insurance stocks worth QR2.75bn change hands across 71,232 deals.
The realty sector witnessed a total of 14.97bn equities valued at QR19.89bn trade across 382,303 transactions; telecom saw 1.65bn shares worth QR4.5bn across 157,080 deals; and as many as 2.39bn transport equities worth QR7.57bn change hands across 158,314 transactions.
The 2020 also saw the Group Securities remain ‘numero uno’ with their share trade turnover constituting 39.71% of the total turnover, followed by QNB Financial Services (28.14%), Dlala (8.68%), CBQFS (8.25%), Qatar Securities (7.36%), Wasata Financial Services (3.04%), Al Ahli Brokerage (2.53%) and Gulf Investments Group (2.3%).
The year saw QNBFS start the liquidity provision activity for QNB and Qatar Islamic Bank in the QSE, which specifically saw Qatari German Medical Devices, Dlala, Ezdan, Inma Holding and Qatar First Bank saw their shares report three-digit appreciation.
Having successfully completed the initial public offering, the 2021 will begin with the listing of QLM Life and Medical Insurance, which according to al-Mansoori, is an "important addition" that will give more depth to the market.
Expectations are high for the private sector, hence for the listed companies in Qatar, which has identified new projects valued at QR54bn in the medium term with 2021 alone to witness new projects valued at QR5.9bn, 2022 (QR9.1bn), 2023 (QR11.5bn) and 2024 and beyond (QR27.4bn).