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Sun 7 Feb 2010 11:47 PM

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Qatar's next budget to be 'little bigger' - Fin Minister

Current fiscal year budget is $26bn, including 1.5% cut in spending.

Qatar’s government budget for the next fiscal year is likely to be a “little bigger” than the one for the current year, the country’s finance minister said.

“It’s not smaller and may be a little bigger,” Youssef Hussain Kamal said today in Doha.

The Arabian Gulf country last April announced a budget for the current 2009-2010 fiscal year of $26 billion, which included a 1.5 percent cut in spending following a 14 percent decline in revenue.

Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, is expected to experience economic growth exceeding 16 percent this year, up from 9 percent last year, on the back of rising liquefied gas exports and an increase in world oil prices.

The country plans to raise its annual liquefied gas export capacity to 77 million tons this year from 54 million currently.

Oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 80 percent in the past year to $71.19 on Feb. 5.

Qatar plans to set an oil price of $55 a barrel in its budget projections, the state run Qatar News Agency reported last month, citing Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah.

Oil and gas account for half of the country’s gross domestic product and 70 percent of government revenue, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook.