Investors look beyond World Cup to post-Ramadan Qatari and Saudi recovery plays

The Tadawul banking index has gained about 15% so far this year, outpacing the wider market

  
A Saudi trader monitors stock information at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 15, 2020.

A Saudi trader monitors stock information at ANB Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 15, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
 
DUBAI: Forget football, Qatari stocks offer a potential global recovery play in the second half of the year, according to one top regional portfolio manager.

Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia offer a number of attractive investments as regional markets approach the traditionally quiet Ramadan trading period, Talal Samhouri, a senior portfolio manager at Aventicum Capital Management, said in a TV interview with Bloomberg News on Friday.

While next year’s FIFA 2020 World Cup is attracting global media interest, investors may be more interested in the profile of its listed companies which are more globally focused and well positioned to tap into any broad recovery, he said.

“The biggest reason is the valuation of the Qatari market compared to other regional markets,” he said. “It has not appreciated as much as the rest of the regional market and I believe this is an opportunity for investors to start adding to that market, especially as most of that market is linked to world trade and GDP growth."

A sharp rise in global consumption as economies emerge from the pandemic has led to expectations of increasing demand for key commodities from oil and aluminum to petrochemicals and steel, some of which are exported from Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Aventicum, a joint venture between Credit Suisse and Qatar Investment Authority, expects oil to trade between $55 to $65 for the rest of 2021.

Meanwhile, Saudi banks also offer potentially attractive valuations as the Kingdom’s fledgling mortgage sector opens up, according to CI Capital.

It said that the worst of the provisioning in the sector was now over and largely priced in.

The Tadawul banking index has gained about 15 percent so far this year, outpacing the wider market.

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