Qatar's economic growth is expected to accelerate in 2019, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said in its latest report.
According to select economic and financial indicators released by the IMF, Qatar's real gross domestic product (GDP) will accelerate from 2.6 percent in 2018 to 2.7 percent in 2019 with both hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon sectors contributing more to the growth.
While the hydrocarbon real GDP including crude oil, natural gas, propane, butane, and condensates growth is estimated to rise from 1 percent in 2018 to 1.2 percent in 2019, the non-hydrocarbon GDP growth is expected to go up to 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019, the report said.
According to the IMF executive board, the hydrocarbon data reflects full transfers of Qatar Petroleum profits to the budget.
Qatar's total revenue stood at $26.3 billion in 2017, the report said, adding the country's revenue is expected to rise to $28.9 billion and $31.5 billion in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
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The country's expenditure is expected to drop from $32.4 billion in 2017 to $30.4 billion and $28.2 billion in 2018 and 2019 respectively, the IMF report said.
Given a rise in revenue and drop in expenditure, the IMF has estimated that fiscal balance of Qatar's central government would turn positive in 2019 to $3.4 billion.
Given the rising prices of hydrocarbon products, the IMF has indicated that Qatar's exports will increase from $65.1 billion in 2017 to $75.9 billion in 2018 and $76.2 billion in 2019.
While the imports are expected to rise from $34.1 billion in 2017 to $37.8 billion in 2018, it would decrease to $35.7 billion in 2019, the IMF has estimated.
Qatar's current account balance is expected to remain positive in the years to come and rise from $2.1 billion in 2017 to $4.7 billion in 2018 and $3.5 billion in 2019, the report said.
While the percentage of current account balance to the country's GDP will rise from 1.3 percent in 2017 to 2.5 percent in 2018, it would fall to 1.8 percent in 2019, the report said.
The percentage of Qatar's external debt to the country's GDP is expected to drop from 88 percent in 2017 to 86.6 percent in 2018 and 82.7 percent in 2019, the report said.
The IMF report has also projected that the country's average inflation will rise from 0.4 percent in 2017 to 3.9 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent in 2019.
The central bank reserves excluding assets of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) are expected to rise from $14.9 billion in 2017 to $19.6 billion in 2018 and $23.2 billion in 2019, according to the IMF financial indicator.
By Satyendra Pathak
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