Qatar's trade surplus soared 130.4% year-on-year to QR215.25bn in 2021 as the country's exports grew much faster than the imports, according to the official statistics.
In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021, the trade surplus was seen expanding 189% year-on-year to QR71.38bn, said the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).
The trade surplus growth was 19% during the first quarter, which then jumped to 196.6% during the second quarter and 194.8% during the third quarter of 2021.
Asia remained the principal destination of Qatar’s exports and the first origin of imports as the country saw QR58.76bn trade surplus on trade volumes of QR83.75bn during Q4, 2021.
In Q4, 2021, the value of Qatar’s total exports (including exports of domestic goods and re-exports) amounted to QR100bn, which increased 103.8% and 21.1% year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter respectively.
The yearly jump in total exports was mainly due to a 116.1% surge in exports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (QR46.1bn), 64.3% in chemicals and related products (QR1.2bn), 88% in manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (QR0.7bn) and 52.3% in machinery and transport equipment (QR0.7bn).
On the other hand, there was a 76.2% decline in the exports of miscellaneous manufactured products (QR0.9bn).
The value of Qatar’s imports during Q4, 2021 was QR28.6bn; which increased 17.4% and 15.5% on a yearly and monthly basis respectively.
The Q4, 2021 year-on-year jump in imports is due to 14.9% increase in the imports of machinery and transport equipment (QR1.5bn), 18.5% in miscellaneous manufactured articles (QR0.8bn), 75.5% in crude materials, inedible except fuels (QR0.5bn) and 8.8% in manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (QR0.3bn).
The Asian region was the principal destination of Qatar’s exports and the first origin of Qatar’s imports, representing 71.3% and 43.7% respectively; followed by the European Union, accounting for 18% and 27.9% respectively; and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), with 5% and 3.5% respectively.
The trade volume and balance with European Union were QR25.98bn and QR10.04bn during Q4, 2021, the GCC (QR6.01bn and QR4bn) and the US (QR5.18bn and -QR1.66bn) in the review period.
In Q4, 2021, the trade volume and balance with Oceania were QR1.09bn and -QR0.17bn; Africa (except Arab countries) were QR0.62bn and QR0.26bn; other American countries were QR2.15bn and QR0.85bn); and other Arab countries were QR1.01bn and QR0.14bn.
The trade balance and volume of Qatar with other countries not specified amounted to QR0.55bn respectively in the review period.
Market sources said Qatar’s trade volume with the GCC region has been on the increase, and there is room for improvement with the inoculation drive gathering pace across the region.
An International Monetary Fund paper had earlier said given that low intra-GCC trade is mostly due to similar economic structures of the member countries, the greater regional trade can be boosted by diversifying the economy toward tradables.