A sharp decline in exports amid sinking hydrocarbons foreign sales largely offset a marginal drop in imports cutting Qatar’s foreign trade surplus by 56% y/y to QAR9.3bn ($2.54bn) in December last year, the statistics office said in a preliminary estimate.
A high prior-year base and falling crude oil prices on the international markets cut Qatar’s total exports by 37% y/y and 5% m/m to QAR20.3bn in December. Imports fell just 1% y/y to QAR11bn during the month amid sustained strong private consumption and aggressive public spending.
Petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons sales fell 44% y/y to QAR12.6bn, equalling for 63% of the total.
Re-exports, however, grew 4.4% y/y to QAR643mn in December despite dropping 31% m/m.
Exports of petroleum oils & oils from bituminous minerals (crude) fell 51% y/y and 17% m/m to QAR2.7bn in December while those of petroleum oils & oils from bituminous minerals (not crude) dropped 13% y/y to QAR983mn during the month despite rising 9% m/m.
The major countries of destination for Qatari exports were Japan at QAR4.44bn (22% of the total) followed by India with QAR2.6bn and South Korea with QAR2.5bn.
The major import destinations were China at QAR1.3bn (11.4% of imports) followed by the USA at QAR1.19bn, the UK third with QAR937mn and the UAE fourth at QAR897mn.
Qatar’s CA surplus will decrease to 8.4% of GDP in 2015 from 25.1% of GDP the previous year, according to IMF forecasts. But the sharp decline in crude oil prices will further cut the CA surplus to just 5.0% of GDP in 2016.
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