Qatar’s stock market heads for tenth straight losing session

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Qatar’s stock market headed for its tenth straight losing session on Sunday as the country’s index slipped 0.5 percent with Doha Bank dropping 2.6 percent.

On Friday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said Qatar was ready to sit at the negotiating table to try to end a dispute with its Gulf Arab neighbors. But in the absence of a response from the Anti-Terror Quartet boycotting Qatar, investors did not take the remarks as a sign that the dispute was moving closer to resolution.

Last week, sources told Reuters that Doha Bank had cut around 10 jobs in the United Arab Emirates and planned to put some staff in the region on unpaid leave, because of the hit to its business from the diplomatic dispute.

Doha Bank said the information was incorrect but declined to elaborate.

Meanwhile, Food price inflation eased in Qatar during August, government data showed on Saturday, suggesting the country was finding ways to reduce the impact of economic sanctions imposed by other Arab states.

Food prices jumped after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, closing Qatar's land border with Saudi Arabia - across which many perishable goods had been imported - and disrupting maritime shipping routes.

Food and beverage prices climbed 4.5 percent from a year earlier in July, their fastest increase since at least 2014, and shot up 4.2 percent from the previous month.

In August, however, food and beverage prices only rose 2.8 percent from a year ago and fell back 0.6 percent from July, suggesting Qatar had succeeded in establishing new channels to obtain food economically.

Qatari shipping lines, which lost the use of Dubai as a trans-shipment centre because of the sanctions, have been establishing new services via Oman, Kuwait and the Indian subcontinent. Qatari food processors have boosted their operations to make up for the disruption to imports.

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