Qatar: Country Economic Forecast: 17 Jan 2012

Qatar: Country Economic Forecast: 17 Jan 2012

January 17, 2012
5 Pages - SKU: OFE6769233
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Countries covered: Qatar

Nominal GDP data for the first nine months of last year are consistent with another strong growth performance; we still expect GDP to have risen by 16.3% in real terms in 2011. The economy has been insulated from adverse global trends by a number of factors, including rising hydrocarbon output (oil, LNG and other gas), high oil prices and strong government spending in current as well as capital areas. The self-imposed moratorium in raising LNG production in 2012-14, together with less favourable oil price and output trends, will see GDP growth slow into single digits in the near term. But growth is still forecast at 7% in 2012 thanks to robust government spending and exports focused on Asia. Consumer prices rose 0.1% in November, cutting the annual inflation rate from 2.5% to 2.1%, the lowest since July. Prices were depressed by a 0.5% fall in transportation costs as well as by stable prices for housing and utility costs. Despite the downward trend in global food prices and the continued weakness in rental costs, we expect inflation to rise to an average of 3.4% in 2012 from 1.9% in 2011. The current account surplus is expected to have widened to US$46bn or 25% of GDP in 2011. This reflects a 35% climb in regional oil prices, a 17% rise in oil export volumes and a 27% surge in gas shipments. The surplus is forecast to narrow slightly to US$37bn or some 19% of GDP.

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