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‘Shock’ of Arab boycott passed – QSE normal: CEO

DOHA, Nov 21, (RTRS): The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) has passed the shock of the boycott imposed on Doha by other Arab states and is now operating normally, the exchange’s chief executive Rashid Ali al-Mansoori said on Tuesday.

Over 100 new foreign funds have begun investing in Qatar since the boycott was imposed in early June, Mansoori said in a speech, without naming any of the funds.

He also said the exchange was in talks with Arab and Asian countries, which he did not name, to arrange dual listings of foreign stocks in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, and portfolio investors and depositors from the four countries began pulling money out of Qatar. The Qatar stock index has plunged 22 percent since then to six-year lows.

In June, Mansoori told Reuters that some institutional investors from the four countries were deliberately dumping shares in order to damage Qatar’s market.

On Tuesday, however, he said: “We passed the blockade shock and are operating as normal.”

The exchange is encouraging privatisation exercises and trying to persuade family-owned companies to list on the market, and 10 small-sized firms have showed interest in listing on the exchange’s QE Venture Market, which is designed for smaller companies, Mansoori said.

Meanwhile, Qatar Insurance said on Tuesday that it had renewed the business licence for the company’s branch in Abu Dhabi, more than two months after saying it would close because of a regional political row.

The branch will continue to conduct normal activities, Qatar Insurance said in a bourse statement.

The move is an apparent turnaround from September when the company said it was not able to renew its business licence in the United Arab Emirates capital because of the current political situation in the region.

The company could not be reached for comment on the reasons why it was able to renew its business licence.

In a regional rift that started on June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar.

Qatar Insurance’s branch has been operational since 2002 and underwrites gross premiums estimated at about 110 million riyals ($30.2 million) per year, it said in September.

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