Oil prices remain a serious risk to the outlook for Qatar’s economy. Pictured, Doha. AFP
Oil prices remain a serious risk to the outlook for Qatar’s economy. Pictured, Doha. AFP

Qatar halves GDP forecast for 2015 amid oil plunge



Qatar said it had halved its forecasts for economic growth in 2015.

Growth expectations were slashed to 3.7 per cent from the 7.3 per cent forecast in June. But the government’s biannual outlook said the country would record a fiscal surplus this year of 1.7 per cent of GDP, a figure above the 1.4 per cent it projected in June.

“On the fiscal side, the government is taking measures to rationalise expenditure. Still, markedly lower hydrocarbon revenue will narrow the surplus this year and is expected to lead to a modest deficit next year of about 4.8 per cent of GDP,” the Development Planning and Statistics Minister, Saleh Al Nabiy, said in a ministry report.

He said a continued mismatch in oil market supply and demand could prompt a larger adjustment in government spending plans, but an anticipated pick-up in oil prices and continued spending restraint could make Qatar’s deficit begin to retreat in 2017.

Qatar’s upcoming budget is being scrutinised for the impact lower hydrocarbon prices will have on state spending as the country prepares for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

It will also be Qatar’s first new budget in almost two years, after it shifted its fiscal year to December 31 from March 31 earlier this year.

Oil prices remain a serious risk to the outlook for Qatar’s economy.

The ministry based its forecasts on oil priced per barrel at US$52.40 this year, $51.20 next year and $55.30 in 2017, according to the report. This is down, respectively, from $56, $61.60 and $65.60 used in the June report.

“The explanation for the slower [2015] GDP growth lies entirely in the performance of the oil and gas sector,” the ministry report said, adding that crude oil output this year was expected to be about 6 per cent below last year’s levels.

Real GDP growth is expected to increase to 4.3 per cent next year before tapering to 3.9 per cent in 2017, as benefits from increased gas and condensate production are offset by a slowdown in construction and the inflow of migrant workers as infrastructure spending peaks.

The chances of divergent monetary policies further complicate the outlook, the ministry said, noting the impending rise in interest rates in the United States for the first time in almost a decade.

Qatar pegs its currency to the US dollar, which should mean it mirrors American rate decisions.

However, Qatar’s central bank governor said in October that he saw no reason to imitate any US rate hike because of positive liquidity conditions in the Qatari banking system.

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Indika

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July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

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1861 - Louis Pasteur published his germ theory which proved that bacteria caused diseases

1895 - Discovery of x-rays

1923 - Heart valve surgery performed successfully for first time

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

1953 - Structure of DNA discovered

1952 - First organ transplant - a kidney - takes place 

1954 - Clinical trials of birth control pill

1979 - MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scanned used to diagnose illness and injury.

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2009 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2010 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2011 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2012 - Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2013 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2014 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2015 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

2016 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2017 - Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

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Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

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5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

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B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

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