World's top LNG exporter, so far, had raised spending by 25% in the current fiscal year
Qatar will boost its government
budget for the new fiscal year 2011-12 but has no immediate
plans to issue sovereign bonds, the Gulf Arab state's finance
minister said on Wednesday.
The world's top liquefied natural gas exporter, which has
escaped unrest sweeping through the Arab world so far, had raised
spending by 25 percent in the current fiscal year, helped by
robust oil prices and gas output expansion.
"Next week, we will announce the budget. It is bigger than
last year's," Youssef Kamal told reporters on the sidelines of a
meeting of Gulf policymakers in Doha.
Kamal echoed his recent comments that the budget would be
based on oil prices of not more than $60 per barrel but declined
to give further details.
Earlier in March, he said the budget for the new fiscal
year, which starts in April, would likely be based on an oil
price of between $55 and $60 per barrel.
Worried by the spreading unrest, autocratic governments
across the Gulf offered handouts worth billions of dollars to
calm social tensions at home.
In its 2010-11 budget, the cash-rich OPEC member pencilled
in spending worth QR117.9bn ($32.4bn) and a
surplus of QR9.7bn, or 2.7 percent of gross domestic
"We will have some surplus in the [current] budget," Kamal
said without further details.
Analysts polled by Reuters in March expected a surplus of
11.5 percent of GDP in the current fiscal year and 12.1 percent
Qatar, one of the world's top investors through its
sovereign wealth fund, plans to raise spending on infrastructure
in the run-up to hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup.
The country issued a QR50bn bond to local banks in
January, which sources said was to raise funds for development
projects and to drain excess money from the banking system.
Political unrest in the region, which also spread to nearby
Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, has fuelled a surge in oil prices well
above $100 per barrel.
The tiny Gulf Arab state, one of the world's fastest growing
economies, will see GDP expanding by 18 percent or more this
year, Kamal also said, reiterating recent remarks.
Social tensions sweeping through the region are not expected
to impact growth prospects in the Gulf state, he said.
"We are a stable country with a AA rating. We have good
growth, may be above expectations," Kamal said.
Qatar, whose hydrocarbon-based economy is forecast to expand
at a double-digit clip this year, assumed an oil price of $55
per barrel in its 2010-11 budget.