World Cup hosting lifts Qatar stocks

Qatar’s stock market index surged on Sunday, the first trading day after the Gulf state won the bid to host the 2022 football World Cup and pledged to spend heavily on infrastructure.

The Qatar Exchange index rose over seven percent at opening, and although it fell during the day, it still closed 3,57% up at 8 477,32 points, according to the market’s website.

Real estate firm Barwa closed up 6,19%, while National Cement shot up 8,47%, as the gas-rich desert emirate pledged to spend tens of billions of dollar on construction of stadiums, hotels and infrastructure.

Qatar has vowed to build a modern transport network, including a metro, and new accommodation facilities, in addition to air-conditioned stadiums. Banking shares also closed high, with Qatar National Bank up 4,5%, Commercial Bank of Qatar 3,93%, and Rayan Bank 5,52%.

Taha Abdel Ghani, general manager of Nama Economic Consulting, said that according Qatar the right to host the World Cup tournament has “raised investors’ confidence in the Qatari market”.                                                                                                                                                            “There are huge sums of money that Qatar has pledged to spend within a set period of time. This helps investors to expect the direction of capital flows during the next 10 years,” he added.

Ahmed AboulEnein, financial consultant at Qatar’s International Trade and Development Company, said: “The market index could reach 10 500 points over a six-month period as listed companies will benefit from the economic growth. This encourages investors at the moment to enter the market.

“We expect an inflow of large liquidity into the market … Some investors and institutions are getting ready to enter the market,” he added.

A major oil producer and enormously rich in gas reserves but with a population of just 1,7-million, Qatar has emerged in recent years as a major host of international sports and cultural events.

It hosted the Asian Games in 2006 and will stage the Asian Cup, the region’s top football event, in January. – AFP

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