The Qatar Exchange (QE) is ready to launch a secondary exchange for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help develop the state’s financial markets.

The technical and regulatory infrastructure is now in place and the market is ready to receive listing applications from business owners in Qatar and the other the GCC countries.

The Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment (SCEAI) is keen to provide the dedicated platform for the SME sector as part of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar Development Bank, Silatech and Qatar Enterprise are working with SCEAI to help execute the initiative.

Some analysts are sceptical as to the impact of the SME exchange and whether the secondary market will attract many listings.

“There haven’t been many deals on the main market, but it is up since January 2011 when compared with Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges. There is a lot of liquidity and investors would welcome opportunities in the secondary market,” says an analyst who asked not to be named.

The Qatar Exchange was the only bourse in the region to close on a positive note, gaining 1.5 per cent at the end of 2011 to close at 8,812.46 points.