Qatar's economy grew 6.9 percent year-on-year in inflation-adjusted terms in the first quarter helped by a jump in the construction industry, the Gulf Arab state's statistics authority said on Sunday.
The world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas also saw its real gross domestic product rising by 3.0 percent in January-March compared with the previous three months, the Qatar Statistics Authority said citing preliminary data.
Latest comparable growth rates for the final quarter of 2011 are not available, the authority said, as it has been revising the GDP data for 2011 and 2010.
In March it originally reported GDP growth of 14.7 percent year-on-year for October-December 2011, which it revised to 14.8 percent in the following month. It put the quarter-on-quarter expansion at 4.6 percent in April.
Qatar expects its economic growth to slow to 4.5 percent in 2013, the weakest rate in a decade, the state planning authority said last week. The weakening global growth outlook and the euro zone debt crisis pose a risk to the OPEC member as they are affecting oil prices, it added.
It saw real GDP growth falling sharply to 6.2 percent in 2012 from a revised 14.1 percent last year as the impact of decades of expansion in its gas output levels off.
Analysts polled by Reuters in March forecast real GDP growth of 6.6 percent for 2012.
Oil and gas output, which accounts for around 58 percent of Qatar's economy, increased 4.6 percent on an annual basis in constant prices in the first quarter, edging up just 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter, the data showed.
Construction, where activity is picking up ahead of the planned 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, saw output rising 6.1 percent year-on-year. But it soared by nearly 22 percent from the previous quarter, largely outpacing all other sectors.
Qatar, which has avoided the social unrest that rocked the Arab world last year, plans to boost government spending by 27 percent to $49bn in the fiscal year that began in April.
It plans to invest about $130bn in its non-hydrocarbon sector in 2012-2018. Infrastructure spending should average more than 10 percent of GDP ahead of the World Cup.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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