Qatar’s economy grew 6.9 per cent year-on-year in inflation-adjusted terms in the first quarter helped by a jump in the construction industry, the Gulf Arab state’s statistics authority said on Sunday.
The world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas also saw its real gross domestic product rise by three per cent in January to March compared with the previous three months, the Qatar Statistics Authority said citing preliminary data.
Latest comparable growth rates for the final quarter of 2011 are not available, the authority said, as it has been revising the GDP data for 2011 and 2010.
In March it originally reported GDP growth of 14.7 per cent year-on-year for October-December 2011, which it revised to 14.8 per cent in the following month. It put the quarter-on-quarter expansion at 4.6 per cent in April.
Qatar expects its economic growth to slow to 4.5 per cent in 2013, the weakest rate in a decade, the state planning authority said last week. The weakening global growth outlook and the Eurozone debt crisis pose a risk to the OPEC member as they are affecting oil prices, it added.
It saw real GDP growth fall sharply to 6.2 per cent in 2012 from a revised 14.1 per cent last year as the impact of decades of expansion in its gas output levels off.
Analysts polled by Reuters in March forecast real GDP growth of 6.6 per cent for 2012.
Oil and gas output, which accounts for around 58 per cent of Qatar’s economy, increased 4.6 per cent on an annual basis in constant prices in the first quarter, edging up just 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter, the data showed.
Construction, where activity is picking up ahead of the planned 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, saw output rising 6.1 per cent year-on-year. But it soared by nearly 22 per cent from the previous quarter, largely outpacing all other sectors.
Qatar, which has avoided the social unrest that rocked the Arab world last year, plans to boost government spending by 27 per cent to $49 billion in the fiscal year that began in April.
It plans to invest about $130 billion in its non-hydrocarbon sector in 2012-2018.
Infrastructure spending should average more than 10 percent of GDP ahead of the World Cup.