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Mon 28 Nov 2016 02:09 PM

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Qatar's foreign trade surplus shrinks 34% in October

Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics data shows that surplus falls due to low natural gas and oil prices

Qatar's foreign trade surplus shrinks 34% in October

Qatar's foreign trade surplus shrank by 34 percent from a year earlier to QR7.7 billion ($2.11 billion) in October, according to data from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics.

The surplus slumped from more than QR11.6 billion in the year-earlier period because of low natural gas and oil prices.

Exports of petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons fell 19.8 percent to QR11 billion, according to the data, cited by Reuters.

On Sunday, a report by BMI Research said Qatar has enough foreign reserves to pay for more than a year of imports.

Researchers forecast that Qatar’s current account would return to surplus in 2017, after the country posted its first deficit since 1998 this year.

However, the deficit – at 3 percent – poses “little risk to economic stability” in Qatar, as it can be financed through “tremendous” reserves and debt issuance, the report said.

Earlier this year, Qatar cut its planned spending on building healthcare facilities by about two-thirds this year following the drop in energy prices.

The world's top liquefied natural gas exporter is one of the richest countries per capita but it faces a QR46.5 billion ($12.8 billion) budget deficit this year because of the continued lower oil and gas prices.

Like other Gulf states, it is turning to international markets to bridge the gap but it is also having to reduce and prioritise state spending.

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