Satyendra Pathak Doha
Qatar’s GDP outlook for 2022 is upbeat as elevated energy prices will be a key growth driver for the country’s economy, FocusEconomics has said in a report released on Wednesday.Moreover, the report said, the non-energy sector will record strong growth, given the reduced impact of the pandemic and the upcoming FIFA World Cup.Increased trade with the Arab Quartet will also be a contributor, it said.FocusEconomics panellists see a 4.5 percent rise in GDP during 2022, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.8 percent growth in 2023.After a 2.5 percent expansion in year-on-year terms in the first quarter of 2022, the report said, Qatar’s economy likely picked up steam in the second quarter.“The private-sector PMI was at a record high in May–June thanks to strong expansions in output and new orders. What’s more, tourism continued to boost local activity, with visitor arrivals rising 869 percent year on year in May,” it said.“In addition, higher oil and gas prices have buoyed government coffers and supported the external sector. The trade surplus in the second quarter of 2022 was the largest since 2014,” the report said.“The picture in the energy sector, however, was more mixed. After growing in annual terms in April, the volume of energy output contracted in May. LNG production has been held back this year by maintenance work at some facilities, despite European countries’ interest in boosting gas imports from Qatar,” it said.The report also revealed that Qatar’s inflation rose from 5.2 percent in May to 5.4 percent in June. Items related to recreation, utilities and food saw the largest increases. The Qatar Central Bank hiked rates by 50 basis points in July, diverging from the Federal Reserve’s 75 basis points hike.Qatar’s inflation is expected to average almost double its 2021 level this year due to recovering demand and higher commodity prices, it said.FocusEconomics panellists see inflation averaging 4.4 percent in 2022, which is up 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.8 percent in 2023.According to the annual data released as part of the report, Qatar’s GDP per capita is expected to rise from $81,360 in 2022 to $101,816 in 2026.The country would witness a sustained increase in both imports and exports in the coming years. While the merchandise exports from the country are expected to rise from $112.7 billion in 2022 to $121.9 billion in 2026, the report said, merchandise imports would increase from $31.8 billion in 2022 to $40.7 billion in 2026.FocusEconomics, a leading provider of economic analysis, has also forecast that Qatar’s trade balance would rise from $80.9 billion in 2022 to $81.2 billion in 2026.The report has projected that Qatar’s current account balance will account for 20.1 percent of the total GDP in 2022. The percentage of the current account balance will be 15.7 percent in 2025, the report said.Qatar’s current account balance, which turned positive in 2021, is expected to reach $43.6 billion in 2022, the report said, adding that it will continue to remain in the positive territory for the next four years and reach $40.6 billion in 2026.