New regulations introduced by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) in mid-June will curb local banks’ investment options,
potentially making sovereign bonds more appealing at the expense of some private sector options. Under the new regulations, with which lenders must comply within six months, equities and bonds can account for up to 25% of a bank’s capital and reserves, although debt issued by the government and national banks are exempt from the limit. The cap had been previously set at 30%. The new regulations also limit the amount banks can place with individual companies and unlisted securities, establishing a maximum of 5% of capital and reserves for foreign investments and 10% domestically. The cap for total foreign equities is set at 15%. These new rules will apply to both conventional and Islamic lenders.