Qatar’s trade surplus plunges 65% y/y in April on sinking hydrocarbon exports

By bne IntelliNews May 29, 2016

Qatar’s foreign trade surplus decreased 65% y/y and 17.3% m/m to QAR4.782bn ($1.3bn) in April 2016 on plummeting hydrocarbons exports that largely mitigated a mild decline in imports, the statistics office said in a preliminary estimate.

Falling crude oil prices on the international markets and surging imports will continue to weigh on Qatar’s foreign trade balance at least in H1.

Sharply narrowing trade surplus amid falling hydrocarbons exports will push Qatar’s current account into a deficit (the first in more than a decade) of 5% of GDP in 2016 compared with a 4.5% of GDP surplus last year. The mild recovery in oil prices currently developing might, however, help address Qatar’s external position.

Total exports (including re-exports) dropped 38% y/y and 9.7% m/m to QAR15bn in April as petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons sales fell 45% y/y to QAR8.6bn, equalling for 57.3% of the total.

Re-exports, however, grew 33% to QAR989mn in April.

Exports of petroleum oils & oils from bituminous minerals (crude) fell 38% y/y to QAR3.7bn while those of petroleum oils & oils from bituminous minerals (not crude) dropped 26% y/y to QAR658mn during the month.

Qatari imports contracted a mild 3.3% y/y to QAR10.2bn in April on still strong private consumption and industrial demand amid aggressive public spending.

The major countries of destination for Qatari exports remained Japan with QAR3.16bn (21% of total exports), followed by South Korea with QAR2.1bn (14%), and India third with QAR1.1bn (11%).

The major import destinations were China at QAR1.25bn (12.2% of imports) followed by Germany at QAR1.16bn (11.4% of the total), and the US third.

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