Bloomberg News

Qatar’s Growth to Slow to 5% in 2012, Planning Board Says

October 25, 2011

(Updates with secretary general in third paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar’s economic growth may ease to 5 percent next year as expansion of the emirate’s energy industry slows, the country’s economic planning board said.

Growth in real terms will drop from about 15 percent this year amid a “plateau” in oil and gas output following two decades of investment, the General Secretariat of Development Planning said in a report released today. While hydrocarbon production expands 2 percent in 2012, the non-oil and gas sector areas of the economy will increase 9 percent.

“The non-oil sector will be the green light for economic development next year,’” Saleh al Nabit, secretary general of the board, said today at a news conference in Doha.

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, raised its annual capacity to produce the fuel to 77 million tons earlier this year with the start of its 14th liquefaction plant. No additional plants are planned and further gas production would depend on the lifting of a moratorium on development of the country’s North Field, the world’s single largest gas reservoir.

Qatar projects a budget surplus of 22.3 billion rials ($6.1 billion), or about 12.6 percent of gross domestic product this fiscal year as LNG exports increase, according to the report. That will narrow to 7.8 percent of GDP next year, it said. Inflation will stabilize at about 2 percent next year. Consumer prices rose at an average rate of 1.7 percent in the first half after the country experienced deflation for most of 2010.

Soccer World Cup

The current account surplus will decline to 20 percent of GDP from 24 percent this year. The economic projections are based on an average oil price of $100 a barrel in 2012, according to the report.

The Persian Gulf emirate, which the International Monetary Fund projects will have the world’s fastest growing economy for the second year in 2011, was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup last year and will invest more than $45 billion constructing infrastructure, including a railway system and a city for 200,000 people before the sporting event takes place, according to the report. A total of $9 billion will be spent directly on new stadiums and sporting facilities.

“Although some spending linked to the 2022 FIFA World Cup may push through in 2012, the major outlays are expected only later,” the planners said in the report.

--With assistance from Vivian Salama in Abu Dhabi. Editors: Claudia Maedler, Susan Lerner

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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