By Joanne Bladd
Report predicts double digit growth on back of increased LNG production.
Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, will see double digit economic growth this year fuelled by LNG exports and non-oil and gas growth, a report by Qatar National Bank Capital based on official figures has said.
Qatar Economic Review forecasts real GDP to grow by 14.5 percent this year on the back of increased LNG production, expected to hit 45 million tons. GDP growth is forecast to reach 17 percent in 2011 the report said, using figures sourced from Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA).
Nominal GDP figures released by the QSA for the first quarter of 2010 reflect growth of 22.7 percent to QR102.5bn, up from QR83.6bn in the first quarter of 2009.
Qatar has aggressively moved to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons and pursue a privatisation programme, a method that appears to be bearing fruit.
The Gulf state’s non oil-and-gas industries overtook the hydrocarbon sector for the first time in 2009, contributing 53.8 percent of total GDP and recording a 2.4 percent growth over the previous year, the report said.
“Economic diversification has become the cornerstone of the Qatari economy with the non-oil and gas sector overtaking the oil and gas sector for the first time in 2009, and also with the gas sector overtaking oil as the single largest contributor to the economy,” analysts said.
Much of the contribution came from government spending, import tariffs and household services; sectors that contributed QR44,147m or 12.3 percent to total GDP last year.
Other growth areas included finance, insurance and real estate, which collectively contributed QR43,374m or 12.1 percent of GDP.
Hydrocarbons are expected to account for around 50 percent of Qatar’s GDP this year, the report noted.
Condensate production is forecast to reach 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2010 and 500,000 bpd in 2011. Pipeline gas production is slated to hit 2.8 billion cfd this year and around four billion cfd in 2011.
Qatar’s economic outlook is ranked as ‘stable’ by credit agencies Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Capital Intelligence.
The state’s sovereign ratings are currently the highest among the GCC countries.