Qatar’s merchandise trade balance, which is the difference in value between imported and exported goods, is expected to reach $49.8bn in 2024, latest country forecast by FocusEconomics has shown.
This year the country’s merchandise trade balance has been forecast to total $25.4bn, $32.1bn (in 2021), $38.7bn (2022) and $44.8bn (2023).
The report said that Qatar’s fiscal balance as a percentage of GDP is set to rise to 4.7% in 2024 from an estimated -7.6% this year.
According to FocusEconomics, Qatar’s public debt (as a percentage of GDP) has been forecast to fall to 52.8 from 64.8 this year.
The country’s public debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product will fall continuously over the next four years, the researcher said.
It is projected at 62.9 next year, 59.5 (in 2022) and 56.2 in 2023.
Qatar’s GDP has been estimated to reach $216bn in 2024 from $163bn this year.
Next year, it will be $177bn, followed by $190bn (2022) and $203bn in 2023.
GDP per capita, FocusEconomics said, has been estimated to reach $77,495 in 2024 from $59,007 this year.
GDP per capita next year will be $64,130, followed by $68,662 in 2022 and $73,090 in 2023.
Qatar’s economic growth in terms of nominal GDP will reach 6.3% in 2024 from -11.2% by the year-end.
Next year, economic growth in terms of nominal GDP will be 8.9%, 7.3% in 2022 and 6.7% in 2023.
The current account balance (as a percentage of GDP) will be 4.6 in 2024 compared with -3.7 in 2020, 0.4 (2021), 4.5 (2022) and 4.5 in 2023.
International reserves may exceed $32.4bn in 2024, from $31.9bn this year.
The country’s inflation, the report noted, will be -1.1% this year, 1.5% (2021), 1.7% (2022), 1.8% (2023) and 2% in 2024.
Qatar’s unemployment rate (as a percentage of active population) will remain a meagre 0.1% in 2024, from 0.4% this year. Next year it will be 0.3%, 0.2% in 2022 and 2023, FocusEconomics said.
After mild growth in Q1, the country’s economic activity “likely plunged” in the second quarter due to Covid-19, which led the government to implement containment measures and saw a collapse in visitor arrivals.
The non-energy private-sector PMI was in contractionary territory throughout the quarter, amid lower new orders, output and employment.
More positively, energy production surged in May. Moreover, momentum in the non-energy private-sector rebounded somewhat in June amid the easing of restrictions, with the PMI recording the largest-ever month-on-month increase — albeit still signalling worsening operating conditions, FocusEconomics said.
Turning to the third quarter, Qatar entered phase three of the government’s four-phase easing plan on July 28.
Gyms and health clubs reopened and limits on public gatherings were reduced, among other measures, which should be supporting a further recovery in activity, it said.
The economy is expected to contract this year. The lockdown will cripple the tourism sector for the majority of the year, while depressed energy prices will weigh heavily on government finances and the external sector.
Nevertheless, a “strong fiscal stimulus package” to support the non-oil private sector should cushion the downturn, the report said.
FocusEconomics panelists see a 3.2% contraction in GDP in 2020, which is down 0.4 percentage points from last month’s forecast, before growth of 3.1% in 2021.
Consumer prices fell 3.4% in annual terms in June, down from May’s 3.1% decline, as lockdowns continued to drag on prices. Consumer prices are seen falling over 2020 as a whole on weak demand.
Its panelists see consumer prices falling 1.1% in 2020, which is down 0.5 percentage points from last month’s forecast.
In 2021, FocusEconomics sees inflation averaging 1.5%.