Qatar surpassed Luxembourg as the world’s richest nation in 2010 and is set to pull away with wealth that’s almost twice that of the U.S., latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund show.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows Qatar’s gross domestic product per capita at $88,221 in 2010, beating Luxembourg for the top spot, according to IMF data released Sept. 20. The figure may reach $111,963 by 2016, surpassing Luxembourg’s $94,621 and Singapore’s $70,992, the IMF said. U.S. GDP per capita is forecast at $55,622 in five years, from $46,860 in 2010.
“It’s the combination of wealth, growth and a small population,” said Paul Cooper, Dubai-based managing director at Sarasin-Alpen & Partners Ltd., which oversees more than $500 million in the Middle East.
Qatar, the host of the 2022 soccer World Cup, forecasts economic growth of about 16 percent in 2011 and projects a budget surplus of $6.1 billion this fiscal year. The IMF forecasts the Persian Gulf nation will have the world’s fastest-growing economy for a second year in 2011 and estimates the country's population at 1.7 million in 2010. Qatar, which is smaller than Connecticut, has a population of about 848,000, according to the CIA World Factbook.
The country, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has reached its target of 77 million tons of annual production.