The big surprise for 2012 was Qatar which lost 7.5 per cent of its market value in the first half of this year. In 2011, Qatar was the only GCC country with positive stock market returns (up one per cent). Changing sentiment in the gas exports market, slower growth in GDP and corporate earnings and declining liquidity could be the primary reasons for turning the tide against Qatar.
After experiencing double digit growth rates for the last six years, Qatar's GDP growth rate is expected to come down to normal levels going forward. While infrastructure spending is expected to be robust, investments in the upstream hydrocarbon sector will tail off due to culmination of its 20-year hydrocarbon investment programme in 2011. With reduced government spending, capital formation will be affected, leading to slower growth in corporate earnings. In Q1 12, net income of listed Qatari companies grew by only two per cent YoY.
(Research by Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz); financial data from Reuters July 31 2012).