DOHA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Qatar’s stock market is set to list its first exchange-traded funds this quarter, market sources said on Tuesday, as authorities seek to develop the bourse in the face of a boycott by other Arab states.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last June, causing the Qatari stock index to plunge more than 20 percent at one stage.
But the market has since recovered much of those losses and authorities say they aim to press ahead with reforms to improve liquidity and attract more foreign money.
The exchange has been discussing ETFs - portfolios of stocks that track market indexes - for years, but their introduction has been slowed by technical and regulatory challenges. The iShares MSCI Qatar Capped ETF tracks Qatari stocks but it is listed in the United States.
Qatar’s second largest bank by market value, Masraf Al Rayan , is in the process of raising funds for an ETF. It aims to raise 400 million riyals ($110 million) from investors and list in Doha before the end of this quarter, an investor and an industry executive familiar with the matter said.
Meanwhile, Qatari investment firm Amwal, with assets under management of 1.6 billion riyals, has raised funds for an ETF from investors and is also looking to list in Doha this quarter, according to the industry executive and another source familiar with the matter.
Masraf Al Rayan and Amwal declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.
Most regulatory approvals for the ETFS have been obtained, and remaining issues to resolve are essentially operational matters such as the allocation of units and the listing process, the industry source said.
Masraf Al Rayan’s ETF will track the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index of sharia-compliant stocks in Qatar. Amwal’s ETF will track the QE Index of the 20 largest and most liquid stocks in the Qatari market. (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Jon Boyle)