The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) has put in place an active ambitious programme to strengthen its infrastructure to enable it secure developed market status as it views easing of Gulf tensions and vaccine rollout will be "positive" for the country as a whole.
"We have an active programme in place to address shortcomings in our market infrastructure as identified by the global index compilers. This programme is ambitious but will take some time to complete," QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview.
As and when all these elements are in place, he said; "We can expect the index compilers to start their consultation and review process to assess our eligibility for an upgrade to developed market status."
Terming this as a multi-year process; al-Mansoori said the bourse is doing all it can to address the points raised by the global index compliers like MSCI and FTSE Russell.
On the normalisation of the relations in the region, following the Al Ula summit in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) where it was decided to lift the boycott on Qatar; he said easing of tensions in the region and rollout of the vaccination programme to combat the pandemic will be "positive" for the economy as a whole.
At the summit, which was mediated by Kuwait, the GCC countries had inked a pact to ensure regional “solidarity and stability” as part of efforts in resolving a more than three-year boycott against Qatar.
"There is little doubt that the easing of tensions and the normalisation of relations will come as some relief to international investors. We are already witnessing a net inflow of funds from international institutional investors and we would expect that to continue as we progress," he said.
Although it is difficult to predict at this stage whether the ongoing pandemic and any uptick in infection rates would impact this trend, but from a geopolitical perspective, investors will look more positively at the region as a whole.
At the time the blockade was imposed, there was a significant sell-off on the QSE with the majority of the GCC investors, both retail and institutional, closing their portfolios and repatriating their funds, according to him.
"With the blockade over, it would be entirely reasonable to expect that the GCC investors would return to our market, particularly considering the quality of the companies listed," he said, not expecting an immediate return of all the investment that were withdrawn.
Last week, during the listing of QLM, al-Mansoori had said the investment climate in the country is overall good for the investors, including those from the neighbouring countries, but it is not dependent on one segment for the liquidity.
"A return to normality is likely to take a little time," al-Mansoori said, adding of immediate benefit is investor confidence, as the opening of borders has allowed the free flow of people and goods.
"Both the hospitality industry and consumer goods and services will benefit in due course, as and when the current pandemic restrictions subside. The overall investment climate should also improve as we see the GCC investors return to our market," he said.