By Santhosh V Perumal
Weak oil prices appear to have a profound effect in the double-digit fall in Qatar’s trade surplus in October, according to official figures.
The country’s increased imports and reduced exports led to about 14% plunge year-on-year in trade surplus to QR25.96bn, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics said.
The Gulf country’s total exports (valued free-on-board) declined 7% to QR35.51bn as shipments to Qatar’s two major Asian export destinations, were on the decline.
Japan continued to be the top destination of Qatar’s exports, followed by South Korea, India, China and Singapore.
The country’s total exports of domestic products shrank 8% to QR34.79bn in October.
Qatar’s crude exports plummeted 25% to QR5.55bn, non-crude by 15% to QR1.83bn and petroleum gases by 6% to QR22.12bn; even as exports of other commodities grew 13% to QR5.28bn.
Petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons constituted 64% of total exports of domestic products in October 2014 against 62% a year-ago period; crude petroleum oils 16% (20%), non-crude petroleum oils and bituminous minerals 5% (6%) and other commodities 15% (12%).
On exports destinations, Japan accounted for 23% of total exports in September, South Korea 16%, India 13%, China 11% and Singapore 6%.
Qatar’s exports to China more than tripled to QR3.98bn, to Singapore rose 15% to QFR2.18bn and India by 7% to QR4.45bn; whereas those to Japan fell 22% to QR8.14bn and South Korea by 32% to QR5.63bn.
Qatar’s re-exports expanded 49% to QR0.72bn during the review period.
Total imports (valued at cost insurance and freight) grew 17% to QR9.56bn in October mainly on substantial jump in shipments from Singapore. The US, China, Japan, Singapore and the US were among the top five destinations from where Qatar imported merchandise goods.
The US and China accounted for 10% of Qatar’s imports in September, Japan and Singapore (8% each) and the UAE (7%).
Qatar’s imports from Singapore grew 12-fold to QR0.77bn; those from China grew 13% to QR0.94bn, Japan by 25% to QR0.79bn and the UAE by 13% to QR0.63bn; while those from the US fell 18% to QR0.99bn.
Motor cars and vehicles, aircraft spare parts, telephone sets and other group commodities were mainly imported by Qatar in October 2014.
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