(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) released on Monday the Update of the Qatar Economic Outlook 2013-2014, which reiterates the broadly favourable outlook provided by the Ministry in last June's release of the Outlook.
According to an MDPS press release, the forecast of real GDP growth in 2013 has been revised up to 6%, with growth in 2014 expected to hold steady at 4.6%
The upward revision to 2013's growth forecast reflects unforeseen expansion in gas production as well as some revisions to historical data. Nevertheless, services will stay the main driver of growth in 2013
In 2014, growth will continue to pivot around Qatar's expanding non-hydrocarbon economy. Vigorous investment in infrastructure and real estate, sizeable fiscal spending and steep population growth are poised to sustain momentum
Marginal declines in oil production are likely, with gas production having levelled out. HE the Minister of Development Planning and Statistics Dr
Saleh Al Nabit commented that "the overall economy is set to expand during the foreseeable future, at a time when the profile of the non-oil and gas economy will continue to become more pronounced". Dr
Saleh went on to note that while population growth and fiscal spending were stoking growth, new business opportunities were also being carved out in areas such as financial services, transport and communications, and tourism. The Update expects moderate inflation in 2014 of 3.5%, a little higher than the 3.2% projected for 2013
Measures to curb abuses of market power in local consumer markets are expected to help keep price rises in check, and imported inflation is seen low. Upward pressure on residential rentals is likely, but may soften. And although rising material costs will exert upward pressure on project costs, the impact is unlikely to spill over into consumer prices. The government's fiscal position will remain solid, with an overall surplus projected in both 2013 and 2014. However, the surplus is likely to nudge down in 2014 as capital spending, related to the country's infrastructure programme, ramps up. Dr Saleh observed that, "while a robust outlook for oil prices is central to our forecasts, we see downside risks as remote and this means that we fully expect to maintain adequate fiscal space in the upcoming years." Qatar's external position will remain healthy. A current account surplus of close to 23% of GDP is pencilled in for 2014.