Qatar's nominal GDP has been estimated to reach $233.1bn this year and $246.1bn in 2025, according to an Emirates NBD forecast.

The country's real GDP growth has been estimated at 1.7% this year and 2.2% in 2025, according to the regional banking group.

Emirates NBD forecasts Qatar's current account (as a percentage of country's GDP) at 18.8% this year and 19.2% in 2025.

The budget balance (as a percentage of country's GDP) has been estimated at 4.2% this year and 4.7% in 2025.

In its regional outlook for 2024 issued in January, Emirates NBD had noted global growth is expected to slow slightly to 2.9% from 3.0% in 2023 as tight monetary policy continues to weigh on demand and investment, particularly in the first half of the year.

This scenario is consistent with softer demand for oil, particularly in the advanced economies, and oil GDP growth in the GCC region will remain a drag on headline GDP growth in 2024. Emirates NBD expects oil prices to average $82.5/b this year, similar to 2023.

However, it thinks non-oil growth will remain relatively robust, averaging 3.6% across the GCC in 2024, underpinned by continued investment as oil exporting countries push ahead with ambitious economic diversification programmes. While government expenditure growth will likely be more modest in 2024 than over the last couple of years, it does not expect governments to cut spending or tighten fiscal policy through higher taxes (other than those already announced such as the UAE’s corporate income tax, which came into effect in mid-2023).

In addition, economic and social reforms are likely to support continued private sector investment, and growth in the expatriate population, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve, expected in H2, 2024, should also boost demand for credit and support investment and consumption.

The budget surpluses enjoyed in 2022 narrowed sharply last year on oil production cuts and lower oil prices, while spending increased. With little rebound in oil revenues expected in 2024, governments will need to rein in spending growth to prevent budget balances shrinking further, the report said.

“We expect Saudi Arabia to run a deficit of -4.3% of GDP this year, up from -1.9% in 2023, as ambitious development plans will require continued investment spending. Bahrain and Kuwait are also likely to run small deficits this year, but Oman, the UAE and Qatar are expected to record surpluses.

“Overall, sovereign balance sheets in the GCC are much stronger than a few years ago, with lower public debt and healthy FX reserves, which should allow governments to tap capital markets at attractive rates, if needed,” Emirates NBD noted.