By Sarah Townsend
Official statistics show crude exports dropped the most year-on-year as oil prices flatline
Qatar has reported a 58.1 percent drop in the foreign trade surplus – the difference between total exports and imports – in the 12 months to January 2016.
Data from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics show the trade surplus as of January 2016 was QR7.3 billion ($2 billion).
This represents a decrease of QR10.1 billion ($2.77 billion), or 58.1 percent, when compared to January 2015, a statement from the ministry said.
This represents a decrease of 17.8 percent when compared to the previous month (December 2015).
The country’s total exports dropped 33.6 percent year on year to QR17.94 billion ($4.9 billion) – a month-on-month drop of 9.4 percent.
Of that, total domestic products exports shrank 33.2 percent year-on-year to QR17.4 billion ($4.7 billion) as of January 2016 - representing a 9.2 percent drop from the previous month.
Qatar’s crude exports dropped the most at 44.1 percent to QR1.66 billion, the figures showed, while petroleum gases plummeted by 40.3 percent to QR11.62 billion ($3.1 billion) and non-crude by 25.1 percent to QR680 million ($186 million).
Petroleum gases and other hydrocarbons accounted for 66.78 percent of total exports of domestic products compared to 74.69 percent the previous year, the figures showed.
The overall decline was attributed to the sharp drop in oil prices, resulting in a decrease in exports of petroleum gases and other hydrocarbons, as well as a decline in shipments to major Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, Indian and China, the ministry’s statement added.