Middle East and Central Asia > Qatar

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Nidhaleddine Ben Cheikh, Samy Ben Naceur, Mr. Oussama Kanaan, and Christophe Rault
Our paper examines the effect of oil price changes on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stock markets using nonlinear smooth transition regression (STR) models. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our empirical results reveal that GCC stock markets do not have similar sensitivities to oil price changes. We document the presence of stock market returns’ asymmetric reactions in some GCC countries, but not for others. In Kuwait’s case, negative oil price changes exert larger impacts on stock returns than positive oil price changes. When considering the asymmetry with respect to the magnitude of oil price variation, we find that Oman’s and Qatar’s stock markets are more sensitive to large oil price changes than to small ones. Our results highlight the importance of economic stabilization and reform policies that can potentially reduce the sensitivity of stock returns to oil price changes, especially with regard to the existence of asymmetric behavior.
Risto Herrala and Rima Turk-Ariss
We investigate the complex interactions between credit constraints, political instability, and capital accumulation using a novel approach based on Kiyotaki and Moore’s (1997) theoretical framework. Drawing on a unique firm-level data set from Middle-East and North Africa (MENA), empirical findings point to a large and significant effect of credit conditions on capital accumulation and suggest that continued political unrest worsens credit constraints. The results support the view that financial development measured by a relaxing of financial constraints is key to macroeconomic development.
Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, Mr. Oral Williams, and Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad
We investigate the extent of regional financial integration in the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The limited volume data available suggests that regional integration is non-negligible. Bahrain and Kuwait investments especially are oriented towards the region. The development of stock markets in the region will also improve the extent of financial integration. Interest rate data shows that convergence exists and that interest rate differentials are relatively short-lived-especially compared to the ECCU, another emerging market region sharing a common currency. Equities data using cross-listed stocks confirms that stock markets are fairly integrated compared to other emerging market regions, although financial integration is hampered by market illiquidity.