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Qatar Forecasts Budget Surplus at 23% of Spending in 2012-13

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, forecast its budget surplus at 23 percent of expenditure in fiscal 2012-2013 compared with 16 percent in the previous year.

The budget surplus represents 8 percent of gross domestic product compared with 6.7 percent in the previous year’s budget, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported. Revenue will increase 27 percent and expenditure will rise 28 percent, QNA said.

The budget assumed an average oil price of $65 a barrel to calculate projected revenue, QNA said. The country had based its budgets on an oil price of $55 a barrel in the previous two fiscal years. Non-hydrocarbon revenues account for 30 percent of total revenues in the current fiscal year, which started on April 1, up from 24 percent the previous year.

Oil prices averaged $113.67 a barrel over the past year in London.

Qatar registered the world’s fastest economic growth the past two years, according to the International Monetary Fund, as it increased exports of the fuel and completed new liquefaction plants. The country, which will host the 2022 soccer World Cup, plans to invest $45 billion in infrastructure for the event, including $9 billion on new stadiums and sporting facilities, the economic planning board said in October.

Economic growth will slow to 5 percent this year from 15 percent last year as expansion of gas exports slows, the board said.

The release of the budget was delayed after the government revised its accounting system.

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