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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Stocks rocket as Qatar approves draft law on full foreign ownership

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Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law that will allow foreign investors to fully own companies listed on the Gulf state’s stock exchange.

The Cabinet has approved a bill that could allow non-Qatari investors to have full ownership of companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange, a groundbreaking move that boosted local stocks.

The draft law approval could bring in more than $1 billion of foreign inflow into listed companies, according to estimates by investment bank EFG-Hermes.

The news had an almost immediate impact on Qatari stocks which advance as much as 2.3% – the highest in the Gulf.

Qatar Islamic Bank SAQ, Masraf Al Rayan QSC and the Commercial Bank of Qatar may potentially benefit the most from this decision.

Qatar has followed other Gulf countries to attract foreign inflows. In 2019, the UAE said it would allow foreigners to own 100% of businesses across various industries, while Saudi Arabia removed a cap on foreign ownership of publicly traded companies.

Read also: Can expats invest in the Qatari stock market?

This isn’t the first move Qatar has implemented to attract overseas funds in efforts to diversify the economy.

Last year, Qatar announced a new law that allows foreign companies and individuals to own real estate in more areas in the country.

The law allowed non-Qatari individuals to own properties in nine areas, up from the previous three.

The number of areas where foreigners may use real estate also increased to 16. This also includes full ownership of commercial units inside residential complexes and malls.

The country also implemented a two-tiered residency programme that rewards large investors with government-provided services.

The government also announced it would grant permanent residency to family and owners of property worth at least QR 730,000.


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