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Wed 25 Mar 2009 09:26 AM

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Qatar's economy tipped to grow 9% this year

Central bank governor says inflation will also fall from 13.2% to 'single-digit figures'.

Qatar’s economy will grow by as much as nine percent this year and inflation will slow to “single-digit” figures, according to the governor of the country’s central bank.

The Gulf nation’s economy has been largely unaffected by the global crisis and falling oil price as it is based on 25 year contracts for liquefied natural gas (LNG), of which it is the largest exporter in the world.

Attending a GCC banking conference in Bahrain on Tuesday the country’s central bank governor Abdullah Bin Saud Al Thani said: “Our expectation for our GDP growth is from seven to nine percent.”

Inflation slowed to 13.2 percent in the fourth quarter as price increases of food, beverages and tobacco eased, which meant “there is no need to change our interest rate”, Al Thani added, according to Bloomberg.

Qatar plans to more than double its LNG output to 77 million tons a year by 2011 and will earn more than $153bn in gas sales over the next three years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Qatar has the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, after Russia and Iran, and is spending more than $100bn in the next three years on projects including a new financial district and an international airport.