Qatar ups 2013 GDP forecast to 5.3% on better hydrocarbon outlook

By bne IntelliNews June 27, 2013

Qatar’s real GDP growth will reach 5.3% in 2013, up from the previous forecast of 4.8%, as pipeline gas output will rise and unscheduled shutdowns, which dented energy output in 2012, are unlikely to be repeated, the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP) said in its 2013-14 report on June 27. The new forecast matches the IMF’s projection of 5.2% GDP growth in 2013. In 2014, GDP growth will cool to 4.5%, the secretariat said. 

"In 2014, upstream oil and gas is expected to contract as output from maturing oil fields tapers off and gas production hits installed-capacity limits," it added. The non-hydrocarbon sector will grow by 9.8% in 2013 and 10.3% next year. An expected sharp drop in hydrocarbon output cut Qatar’s real GDP growth to 6.2% y/y in 2012 from a revised 13% the year before, the Qatar Statistics Authority has recently said.

"Qatar’s economy is on track, and is more or less where we expected it to be. Growth now and over the medium term will depend on performance in the non-oil and gas economy, and we anticipate robust performance across industry, construction and services in both 2013 and 2014," Saleh Al Nabit, secretary general of the GSDP commented.

CPI inflation is expected to be 3.6% in both 2013 and 2014, up from 1.8% in 2012, the secretariat forecast, underscoring that inflationary pressures have slightly picked since Q2 2012 due to rising residential rents.

The government's budget surplus will remain strong at 8.1% of GDP in 2013 before narrowing to 4.7% of GDP next year, the GSDP forecast.

The risks faced by Qatar’s economy are reportedly still mainly external. But with both recurrent and capital expenditures on an upward trend, lower global oil prices would squeeze fiscal margins, the GSDP warned.

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