The year 2022 is an exceptional year for the Qatari economy, it is the year of the country's resounding success in hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and the Qatari economy has shown record performance during it, its latest indicators highlight the achievement of a real growth rate at constant prices of 6.3% during the second quarter of 2022 on an annual basis, compared to the same period in the previous year, with inflation controlled at around 5.30% last November at an annual rate.
Financial surplus, at the level of public finances, the actual data of the budget of the State of Qatar, during the first nine months of 2022, showed the achievement of a surplus exceeding QR77bn, compared to QR4.9bn, during the same period of 2021, and this surplus came mainly from the noticeable increase in total revenues, which reached the level of QR232.6bn, with the control of expenditures recorded QR155.2bn, and this coincided with the recovery of oil prices, which during the past period fluctuated between $80 and $100 per barrel, noting that the price of the budget of the year the current is based on $55 per barrel, which has maintained the financial balance and reduced the effects of oil price fluctuations on the performance of public finances.
Powerful ratings, despite the fluctuations and crises witnessed by the global economy in recent years, the solidity of the Qatari economy has been confirmed by international rating agencies.
The year was crowned with excellent ratings for the Qatari economy, as the Standard & Poor's credit rating agency raised the rating of the State of Qatar from "-AA" to "AA" during the year 2022, and Moody's credit rating agency raised the outlook for the country from stable to positive.
In the same context, Fitch and Capital Intelligence agencies have continued to rate Qatar's sovereign rating at the "AA" level with a stable outlook, which reflects the State of Qatar's strong creditworthiness.
HE the Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari noted at a recent press conference that the improvement of the country's credit rating confirms the strength and flexibility of the local economy, in addition to the financial stability witnessed by the state, which increases the attractiveness of the State of Qatar to foreign investments, and contributes to reducing the cost of borrowing for the state and its institutions.
HE the minister pointed out that the public debt of the State of Qatar has decreased from 58% in 2021 to about 44.5% of GDP, due to the state's repayment of outstanding amounts of external debt, in addition to the growth in GDP at current prices, the rise in energy prices, and the state's fiscal policy of controlling spending, raising its efficiency and reducing the level of public debt, especially external, which has contributed to the improvement of the country's credit rating.
New products, as for the indicators of the industrial sector, data issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry revealed the registration of 1,100 new local products, the operation of 17 new factories, and the value of exports of local origin reached the level of QR136bn, and the rate of compliance of factories with industrial requirements by 72% in the third quarter, while the number of workers in factories increased by 840 workers, and the average time spent for industrial development services reached 1.5 days.
In the same context, the ministry pointed out that 18,823 new trade registers were issued between January and the end of August 2022, an increase of 132% compared to the same period in the previous year, and 17,654 new trade licences were issued between January and the end of August 2022, an increase of 138% compared to the same period in the previous year, in addition to the renewal of 30,414 trade registers, and the renewal of 35,908 trade licences in the same period.
Regarding the developments in the energy sector, 2022 witnessed great vitality converted with the signing of agreements for completing the two expansions projects of the North-East and South fields to increase the capacity of Qatar's natural gas production from 77mn tonnes to 126mn tonnes per year, in addition to local projects to increase the global supply of the LNG through QatarEnergy Company which is supplying the global market annually with18mn tonnes of LNG since lunching the Golden Pass Project production in Texas (US) prior to the end of 2024.
Also, QatarEnergy confirmed that it continues to implement its programs to meet the future requirements of its tankers fleet of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is connected to the expansion of production in the North Field and Golden Pass projects, and to ensure a reliable supply of additional clean energy to the world.
The country's energy sector was enhanced during 2022 with the startup Al Kharsaah solar power plant with a production capacity of 800 megawatts, which occupies an area of 10 square kilometers and produces electricity with photovoltaic technology, and this first its kind project is completed with a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement.
It's noted that Qatar Energy joined as an official co-sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to reflect the continued support for the sport in general, and football in particular, as the most popular game in the world of sport.
In terms of foreign investment, the FDI Markets showed, Qatar attracted 71 percent of total investments in the Middle East during the second quarter of 2022, providing 6,680 jobs in 11 different projects. With investments valued at $19.2bn, this was reported in a media brief issued last August by the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA) indicating that the software, information technology and business services sectors, financial services, and the oil and gas ranked in the first place in the investment attractiveness in Qatar as reflected by these reports.
Qatar Central Bank (QCB) raised the interest rate on seven consecutive occasions during the current year concurrently with US Federal Reserve Bank interest rate increase. At the same time, QCB increased its international reserves and foreign currency liquidity to reach QR223.985 billion last November, an increase of 6.82% compared to QR209.675bn in the same month in 2021. Also, the stock of gold rose from QR6.943bn to QR18.789bn by the end of November 2022.
In the same context, QCB issued the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 commemorative currencies which was one of the most prominent activities of the last year in 2022, which is an essential contribution of the banking sector to this historic event of its kind in the Middle East and Arab region.
With regard to the aspect of food security, the Qatari economy has achieved remarkable stability in the field of food security, as Hassad Food Company, has strengthened its international investment portfolio, achieving a remarkable return in value of 9% during the current year, as the company has investments in the food and agricultural field, in the grain, meat, poultry, livestock and fish sectors, in a number of countries such as: Australia, Canada, Turkey, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. These efforts have resulted in the State of Qatar ranking first in the Arab world in the global food index.
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