Qatar economy records 6.9% growth in Q1 2012

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Construction workers from Bangladesh take a break near new highrise office buildings and hotels still under construction in the new City Center and West Bay district on 24 October 2010 in Doha, Qatar. Photo - The Majalla

Qatar’s statistics authority said on Sunday the economy grew 6.9% year-on-year in inflation-adjusted terms in the first quarter of this year thanks to soaring construction industry projects in the Gulf state.

The country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) also increased by 3% in January-March compared with the previous three months, the Qatar Statistics Authority said citing preliminary data while adding that figures for comparable growth rates for the final quarter of 2011 are not available due to revision of GDP data for 2011 and 2010.

The Doha stats bureau revised its figure to 14.8% in April after originally reporting GDP growth of 14.7% year-on-year for October-December 2011 in March. It put the quarter-on-quarter expansion at 4.6% in April.

Qatar General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP) said last week it expected the country’s economic growth to slow to 4.5% in 2013 from a projected 6.2% this year, due to looming risks in the global economy, particularly in the euro zone. The commission also forecasted inflation rate to hover between 2-3% in 2012 and 2013.

It saw real GDP growth falling sharply to 6.2% in 2012 from a revised 14.1% 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 percent for 2012.

Oil and gas output, which accounts for around 58 percent of Qatar’s economy, increased 4.6% on an annual basis in constant prices in the first quarter, edging up just 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, the data showed.

Qatar’s construction sector is also picking up ahead of the planned 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, saw output rising 6.1% year-on-year. But it soared by nearly 22% 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% 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.

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