Qatar’s economic growth should accelerate strongly in the next fiscal year, the Gulf country’s emir said on Tuesday, while consumer prices continue to decline this year.
The world’s top natural gas exporter, has been enjoying strong growth rates, unlike the rest of the region, keeping its oil and gas output intact despite a fall in oil prices.
“Despite forecasts of global financial institutions (that) the growth rates in most developed and developing countries will decline, the growth rate of Qatar’s economy in the current fiscal year will reach about 9 percent and a forecast for the coming fiscal year is 16 percent,” emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani said in a speech, according to Qatari state agency QNA. The Qatari fiscal year starts in April.
The cash-rich state is expected to keep outperforming key players in the world’s top oil-producing region — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — in the coming years thanks to massive expansion of its gas facilities.
“The growth is mainly coming from expansion in the hydrocarbon sector and gas production,” said Giyas Gokkent, head of research at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
“Qatar has been probably equally affected as (the UAE’s emirate of) Abu Dhabi by the global contagion but because Qatar has special circumstances … we will continue to see a resilient economy and one of the fastest-growing economies in the next few years,” he said.
Qatar’s four new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants will double the capacity of the country, which is the world’s richest nation in per capita income, by the end of this year.
The International Monetary Fund is forecasting the OPEC member economy will expand by 11.5 percent in the calendar year of 2009 and by 18.5 percent next year.
Qatar’s gross domestic product rose well over 15 percent on average in 2006-2008, while Saudi Arabia, the top Arab economy, only managed to grow by around 3.6 percent on average in the years of oil and property-fueled boom.