IMF: Qatar’s GDP to grow 20 per cent in 2011

Qatar’s GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 20% in 2011 from 16% in 2010, driven by strong gas production and prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

Other analysts forecast weaker, but still robust, real GDP of 12.2 per cent in 2011, largely as a result of expected stronger gas production growth in 2010 and some expansion delays into 2012. Growth is expected to decline sharply after the Gulf-state introduces a moratorium on new resource development in 2013, the IMF added.

While we also have headline growth decelerating from 2013, non-hydrocarbon growth should remain supported with infrastructure spending, in our view. Inflation is expected to turn positive at 3 per cent in 2011 after falling during the global recession, while medium-term inflation is forecasted at around 4 per cent.

With continued oversupply of housing, we estimate inflation of 1.6% in 2011. The IMF said that Qatar’s current expansionary fiscal stance is “broadly appropriate” as the country expands its infrastructure, but warned that authorities need to be prepared to adjust their policies if demand pressures re-emerge. IMF directors described Qatar’s economic outlook as “favourable” despite vulnerabilities to volatility in natural-gas and oil prices and global financial shocks. Meanwhile, they emphasised the need “to carefully monitor aggregate demand to prevent the resurgence of inflationary pressures”.

The IMF also expects the country’s exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and related products to reach USD51 billion in 2011, up 53% Y-o-Y. (Dow Jones Newswires, Gulf Times, Monica Malik).