Rise in profits keeps picture rosy for CBQ

Commercial Bank of Qatar said third quarter profit jumped 8.6 per cent to 552.1 million riyals as fee and income commission increased.

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Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) rose to its highest in more than a month after the country's second-biggest lender said third-quarter profit rose 8.6 per cent as fee and income commission increased.

Net income rose to 552.1 million rials in the quarter, compared with 508.2m rials in the same period a year earlier, the bank said in a statement to the Qatar Exchange yesterday. A consensus of analysts forecast a profit of 480.5m rials.

Third-quarter net fee and commission income rose to 164m rials from 122.7m rials. Net interest income rose to 466.3m rials from 448.2m rials. CBQ shares rose 1.2 per cent to 82 rials yesterday, their highest since September 11.

"Qatar's bank earnings have been relatively pleasing overall," said Raj Madha, an analyst at Rasmala Investment Bank in Dubai. "There wasn't much problem with the growth number, no real deterioration in asset quality and revenue seems to be on track."

Qatar, the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, forecasts its economy may expand by about 16 per cent this year, helped by fuel exports. The IMF forecasts growth of about 19 per cent, making Qatar's the world's fastest-growing economy for a second year.

The country, which is hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup, promised to more than double hotel and apartment rooms to 84,000 and build a US$25 billion rail and metro network before the tournament. In August, the central bank reduced its overnight lending rate and repurchase rate to 4.5 per cent from 5 per cent to boost spending on infrastructure and property projects.

Last week, Qatar National Bank, the country's largest lender, said net profit rose 31 per cent to 1.9bn rials, beating analyst estimates of 1.8bn rials. Doha Bank reported a 10 per cent increase in third-quarter profit to 308m rials.

Joe Kawkabani, the chief investment officer for equities at Franklin Templeton Investment, said he was "bullish" on Qatar's market and overweight across all the Middle East and North Africa funds at Templeton.