Qatar’s stock exchange will treat investors from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as local citizens from Thursday when calculating whether foreign ownership in listed companies has reached permissible limits, the bourse said on Wednesday.
The move will in effect allow foreign investors, from both the Gulf and outside the region, to hold bigger stakes in listed Qatari companies, most of which have ceilings on total foreign ownership of 25 or 49 percent.
However, the decision looks likely to have little immediate impact on investment flows since foreign ownership limits for most stocks are far from being used up.
Foreigners own just 7.3 percent of Qatar National Bank and 6.8 percent of Industries Qatar, two local companies with the heaviest weightings in global benchmarks.
Index compiler MSCI upgraded Qatar to emerging market status last year, prompting an inflow of foreign funds. However, the market has since suffered in the region-wide sell-off driven by oil’s plunge. It has lost 6.4 percent this year.
GCC members, apart from Qatar, are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.