A decree was issued on 3 July by the new emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani establishing a formal stock exchange. In announcing the decree, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) said that the stock exchange would be known as the Doha securities market and would be supervised by the finance, economy & trade ministry. The move was immediately welcomed by the local business community, which saw the decision as the first tangible sign of Sheikh Hamad’s progressive economic policy (MEED 7:7:95).

QNA said that initially, only stocks and bonds of local companies would be traded on the new exchange. At a later unspecified date, trading in shares of other GCC and foreign countries may be allowed, if it proved to be in the nation’s interest, it added. The news agency said that the government would fund the establishment of the exchange and its running for the first three years, but gave no date for when its operations would begin. The law would come into force 60 days from the date it was published in the official gazette. ‘It is designed to boost domestic savings, create new investment opportunities and strengthen co-operation with the foreign financial markets,’ QNA reported.

The long-awaited decision to proceed with the securities’ market plan was viewed by bankers as support by the new emir for a more active privatisation programme. The government holds substantial stakes in profitable industrial and leisure companies and would have little difficulty in selling off part of its shareholding, they said.

In addition, the move is also likely to provide a boost to several joint stock companies, established over the past three years, but which have so far failed to make an impact on the local economy. One such company is the Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC), which has recently submitted a proposal to the government to take over the running of the Ras Abu Fontas power and desalination complex. A decision is expected to be announced by August on the deal, bankers say.

At present, 17 companies are listed on the unofficial stock exchange. On 1 June, the Commercial Bank of Qatar launched a new index of Qatari shares.

local business community, which saw the decision as the first tangible sign of Sheikh Hamad’s progressive economic policy (MEED 7:7:95).

QNA said that initially, only stocks and bonds of local companies would be traded on the new exchange. At a later unspecified date, trading in shares of other GCC and foreign countries may be allowed, if it proved to be in the nation’s interest, it added. The news agency said that the government would fund the establishment of the exchange and its running for the first three years, but gave no date for when its operations would begin. The law would come into force 60 days from the date it was published in the official gazette. ‘It is designed to boost domestic savings, create new investment opportunities and strengthen co-operation with the foreign financial markets,’ QNA reported.

The long-awaited decision to proceed with the securities’ market plan was viewed by bankers as support by the new emir for a more active privatisation programme. The government holds substantial stakes in profitable industrial and leisure companies and would have little difficulty in selling off part of its shareholding, they said.

In addition, the move is also likely to provide a boost to several joint stock companies, established over the past three years, but which have so far failed to make an impact on the local economy. One such company is the Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC), which has recently submitted a proposal to the government to take over the running of the Ras Abu Fontas power and desalination complex. A decision is expected to be announced by August on the deal, bankers say.

At present, 17 companies are listed on the unofficial stock exchange. On 1 June, the Commercial Bank of Qatar launched a new index of Qatari shares.