The Qatar Stock Exchange is planning a slew of initiatives including allowing investors to lend and borrow securities and bet against shares, as the bourse looks to attract more investors and bolster valuations in its markets.
The exchange is “engaged with regulators and policy makers for market development by bringing in tools like short selling, securities lending and borrowing,” Mohsin Mujtaba, director of the product and market development department, said in an interview. Those offerings are expected to be introduced in the next quarter.
The QSE has also started working with London Stock Exchange Group Plc to offer “derivatives as a hedging and leverage solution for both retail and institutional investors” by the end of next year.
The moves are part of a “larger playbook” focused on “building more liquidity and attracting more investors,” Mujtaba said.
The QSE was established in 1995.
In terms of listings, Mujtaba said there were a number of smaller listings lined up for this year, with larger initial public offerings “probably a conversation for next year.”
Mujtaba said foreign investor interest was exploding with demand for Qatari gas jumping in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He noted there had been more investment flows so far in 2022 than in the three years.
Energy-heavy Middle East indices have outperformed most benchmarks this year, with the Qatar Exchange Index up 2.7% so far this year compared to a 17% fall in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
Part of Qatar’s strategy to compete with other regional exchanges is to attract climate-focused investors. An ESG-focused exchange traded fund is planned for the second half of the year along with a commodity-based one, he said.