Qatar economy may grow eight percent

The governor of the Qatar central bank is confident the Gulf state's economy will grow by eight percent this year, while inflation may rise "a little bit higher" than the one percent seen in 2002.

    Al-Attiya confident of yet another
    year of growth above five percent

    After his meeting with other central bankers, Abd Allah al-Attiya told journalists on Sunday: "This is a positive [growth] estimate, but I feel that the economy will do very well."

    Al-Attiya made the comments ahead of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) annual meeting in Switzerland.

    The scale of investment needed to develop Qatar's sizeable gas reserves is dictating a need for greater private sector involvement and efforts are underway to promote the role of the private sector.

    Al-Attiya said the privatisation of some petrochemical, steel and fertiliser companies, as well as the expansion of the gas industry, would help spur growth.

    Qatar already exports gas to Japan and Korea and plans to export more to the Gulf region and Europe.

    Inflation not a concern

    But the governor said the central bank was not worried that the buoyant economy would fuel inflation.

    "Inflation is not really a concern. Last year it was one percent and this year we expect it to be a little bit higher due to the rising value of the euro and the yen versus the dollar. We expect it [inflation] will not be a significant increase," he said.
     
    The Qatari economy is a top performer in the Middle East, with average annual real GDP growth of around 6.5% over the past five years.

    Per capita income levels, approaching $30,000, are also among the highest in the world.

    Oil still dominates the economy. However, ongoing development of liquid natural gas and petrochemicals will enable the economy to withstand future possible negative oil shocks.


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