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Mon 2 May 2011 07:50 PM

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Qatar's state budget surplus falls to 9.3%

Qatar, one of the world's top investors, has overspent its budget plan in the previous two fiscal years

Qatar's state budget surplus falls to 9.3%
Currency from the Gulf state of Qatar. (Bloomberg)

Qatar's state budget surplus fell to 9.3 percent of quarterly economic output in the third quarter of its 2010/11 fiscal year as spending jumped, exceeding full-year plans, data showed on Monday.

The OPEC member's surplus dropped to QR12.1 billion ($3.3 billion) in October-December last year from 19.4 billion, or 16.4 percent of gross domestic product in the previous three months, the central bank's preliminary estimates showed.

Revenue almost doubled to QR132.3 billion in October-December from the same period of the previous year, bringing cumulative income for the first three fiscal quarters to 146 percent of the 2010/11 plan.

Analysts polled by Reuters in March expected the Gulf Arab country, whose economy is powering ahead at a double-digit clip, to post a surplus of 11.5 percent of GDP in the whole of the fiscal year that ended in March.

Qatar plans a 19 percent jump in government spending to a six-year high in the current fiscal year, helped by a recent expansion of its gas industry and robust oil prices.

Qatar, one of the world's top investors through its sovereign wealth fund, has overspent its budget plan in the previous two fiscal years. Its income also largely overshot the initial plan due to conservative oil price estimates.

In its 2010/11 budget, the cash-rich country pencilled in spending worth QR117.9 billion and a surplus of 9.7 billion, or 2.7 percent of GDP.

Qatar, which plans to boost infrastructure spending ahead of hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup, assumed an oil price of $55 per barrel in its 2010/11 budget.

Benchmark U.S. crude prices had been hovering between $64 and $107 a barrel during the 2010/11 fiscal year.

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