Qatar is on track to experience the most economic growth in Mena this year, with 20 percent growth in the real GDP expected by QNB Capital. The most recent IMF report on Qatar forecasts a strong economic outlook for this year. Mostly this growth is due to expansions in the LNG capacity of the nation, as well as higher momentum in non-hydrocarbon sector activities. In real terms, the hydrocarbon industry is expected to see 29.5 percent growth this year, while non-hydrocarbon industry should see 9.5 percent growth. The nominal GDP for 2011 is expected to reach QR 584.1 billion (or $160.5 billion), up from the QR 461.8 billion estimated for 2010.
The IMF noted that as a nation, Qatar made it through the worldwide financial crisis very well. The effective policies authorities in Qatar put quickly into place were the reason for this.
Production of condensates and LNG (or liquefied natural gas) will be a key factor in the economic improvements for 2011 and into the future. Production of LNG sat at 50 million tonnes for last year and this year’s numbers are expected to hit 70 million tonnes. Based on calculations by QNB Capital, the production of condensates is expected to have hit 396,500 bpd (barrels per day) last year and should surpass 519,000 bpd this year.
Currently Qatar holds the top position globally for LNG exporting and is the major contributor to the immense increase in the production of LNG. The nation has seen success in the move to widen the market for its LNG exports. Also, Qatar is successfully redirecting gas shipments to countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia to capture better prices.
Inflation in Qatar peaked at 15 percent for 2008 before moving into deflation for 2009 and 2010, mainly as a result of sharply falling domestic rents. Housing has been the main driving force in both inflation and deflation in the last few years, carrying a heavy weight (about 32.2 percent) on the overall CPI figure (or consumer price index).
Mild inflation is expected for 2011 in Qatar, around 3 percent due mainly to increases in fuel prices domestically, as well as rising food costs. The downward pressure being exerted from the housing industry was also a factor in deflation for 2010, although it began to recede in the last quarter of that year.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News