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Higher oil prices to drive Qatar's economic growth

Satyendra Pathak
Higher oil prices and the infrastructure push related to the 2022 World Cup will drive Qatar's economic growth this year and the next year, FocusEconomics has said in its August report.
Qatar's economy performed well in recent months, the report said adding that business conditions in the non-oil economy improved for the 13th straight month.
In July, the report said, industrial activity grew from the previous month last year on the back of a strong expansion in crude oil and natural gas production.
According to the report, Qatargas signing deal with PetroChina on September 10 to supply China with approximately 3.4 million tonnes of LNG annually represents a boost to the long-term prospects of the country's all-important natural gas sector.
FocusEconomics panelists have forecast growth of 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.7 percent in 2019, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection.
Inflation accelerated to 0.6 percent in August from 0.2 percent in July due to higher prices for transport, health, and furniture and household equipment, the report said.
"Our panel sees inflation averaging 0.8 percent in 2018 and 2.5 percent in 2019," the report said. The report has also indicated that inflation would remain below 2.5 percent for the next three years.
The GDP per capita in Qatar will also increase from $60,694 in 2017 to $62,158 in 2018 and reach up to $74,094 in 2022, the report said.
According to the annual data released as part of the report, the overnight lending rate in the country would continue to rise from the current 5.5 percent and reach up to 5.97 percent by 2022. Qatari riyal will continue to be pegged at $3.64 in the years to come, the report said.
According to the report, the country would witness a sustained increase in both imports and exports. While the merchandise exports from the country are expected to rise from $67.4 billion in 2017 to $82.8 billion in 2018, the report said, merchandise imports would increase from $30.7 billion in 2017 to $32.8 billion in 2018 and rise up to $45.6 billion in 2022.
FocusEconomics, a leading provider of economic analysis, has also forecast that Qatar's trade balance would rise from $36.7 billion in 2017 to $50 billion in 2018.
The report has also projected that Qatar's current account balance would account for 8.8 percent of the total GDP in 2018.
Qatar's current account balance turned positive to $6.4 billion in 2017 and is expected to rise to $15.2 billion in 2018, the report said.