Qatar Lifts 2013 GDP Growth Forecast To 5.3%

The Gulf state upped its forecast from 4.8 per cent, citing changes to its expected output of oil and gas.

Qatar’s government on Thursday raised its forecast for real gross domestic product growth in 2013 to 5.3 per cent from 4.8 per cent, citing changes to its expected output of oil and gas.

The General Secretariat for Development Planning predicted growth of 4.5 per cent next year. In 2012, GDP rose 6.2 per cent.

Pipeline gas production will rise this year and unscheduled shutdowns, which limited energy output in 2012, are unlikely to be repeated, the secretariat said in a report.

“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 said.

The government’s fiscal surplus in Qatar, the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas, is expected to drop to 4.7 per cent of GDP in 2014 from an upwardly revised 8.1 per cent this year, the secretariat said. In its previous report last December, it had forecast a 2013 surplus of 5.4 per cent.

“The overall surplus is expected to narrow in 2014 in the wake of the substantial increases in capital spending needed to keep Qatar’s capital projects on track,” it said.

Qatar plans to spend some $140 billion on infrastructure in the next decade, partly in preparation to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.

Inflation is expected to be 3.6 per cent in both 2013 and 2014, up from 1.8 per cent last year, the secretariat predicted.

“This forecast is consistent with somewhat higher inflation in the second half of 2013, but also anticipates that the accelerating inflationary trend seen since the second quarter of 2012 will peter out by end-2013,” it said.