Qatar’s GDP estimated to rise and top $200bn in 2021: Societe Generale
August 01 2020 08:37 PM
Ras Laffan Industrial City
Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar's principal site for production of liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids, some 80km north of Doha.

Qatar’s GDP is estimated to top $200bn in 2021, up from an estimated $195.2bn this year, an economic update by French multinational investment bank Societe Generale has shown.

Although the country’s GDP growth (on constant prices) may be in the negative territory this year, it is estimated to rebound to 5% in 2021, the update said.

Qatar’s GDP per capita has been estimated to rise from $70,737 this year to $72,554 in 2021, Societe Generale said.

Qatar's general government gross debt (as a percentage of GDP) has been estimated to fall to 43.1 in 2021 from 47.9 this year.

Societe Generale estimates an inflation of 2.4% in 2021 from an estimated -1.2% in Qatar this year.

Citing updated International Monetary Fund forecasts (April 2020), the French multinational investment bank said due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, GDP growth is expected to fall to -4.3% in 2020 and pick up to 5% in 2021, subject to the “post-pandemic global economic recovery, conclusion of an expected boom in the services sector ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022.”

It said, “Qatar's economy started to grow faster after the first quarter of 2019 as government spending rose, particularly with regards to wages in the public sector. This helped boost the economy later in the year, which had showed signs of a slowdown as most major infrastructure and construction projects in relation to the World Cup came to completion.

“Nonetheless, general government debt was also estimated to have grown to 53.2% of GDP in 2019, from 48.6% a year earlier, as the country continued to borrow in international markets.”

The IMF anticipates a debt reduction in the coming years, 48% in 2020 and 43.1% in 2021. Current account surplus narrowed to 2.4% of GDP in 2019 from 8.7% a year earlier as global energy prices fell.

However, the IMF expects this trend to be heavily affected by the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fall in oil prices, the current account balance should be negative in 2020 and 2021 (-1.9% and -1.8%, respectively).

Societe Generale, however, said the commissioning of Barzan natural gas facility this year could support domestic gas production and contribute positively to growth. In the medium term, the expansion of North Field gas projects is expected to be completed by 2024, further boosting gas output.

The report also noted that Qatar is the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas and holds the third largest gas reserves in the world (estimated at 16% of the global total). The country’s economy is thus “heavily concentrated” in the gas industry, which represents two-thirds of its GDP and almost 80% of export earnings.

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