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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 07/05/2014
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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar's gas-to-liquids Barzan plant could help push the country's growth above 7 percent by 2015. Public investments are expected to keep growth at 6-7 percent over the medium term, with non-hydrocarbon growth remaining about 10 percent, IMF said in its Qatar Country Report yesterday.

On the country's macro economic outlook and risks, it said Qatar's GDP growth could stay around 6 percent in 2014 as the pickup in public investments is offset by a modest decline in hydrocarbon output.

Inflation is projected to stay at 3 to 4 percent - a modest increase from recent years due to accelerating capital expenditures. The anticipated gradual decline in commodity prices, including for food, should reduce price pressures from strong economic activity in the context of the exchange rate peg. Fiscal and external balances are projected to taper down significantly over time due to flat LNG production, falling crude oil output from mature fields, expected lower hydrocarbon prices, and growing nominal expenditures. The public debt ratio is expected to fall, but the headline budget balance could - according to IMF staff projections - turn into deficit by 2019, while the current account surplus could drop to 6.5 percent of GDP.

In the short-term, a global slowdown or financial turbulence could yet have adverse repercussions for Qatar. Generally, revenue losses from lower oil and natural gas exports would likely be the most significant spillover channel for Qatar. However, the financial channel could become important given Qatari banks' remaining wholesale funding exposures abroad, their Mena linkages, and external financing needs for the infrastructure programme.


The Peninsula

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