Qatar Raises 2013 Growth Forecast on Hydrocarbons

Qatar raised its 2013 economic growth forecast to 5.3 percent from 4.8 percent projected in December on larger-than-expected production of oil and gas, the country’s planning agency said.

“Output of pipeline gas is expected to be higher in 2013 than projected in December and oil production is expected to fall more slowly,” the General Secretariat for Development Planning said in an e-mailed report.

The agency also raised its projection for the country’s fiscal surplus to 8.1 percent of gross domestic product from 5.4 percent, according to the report.

Qatar’s growth, 6.2 percent last year, is slowing as gas exports level off and oil production declines, the agency said. The world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas started its 14th and final liquefaction plant in 2011 with no more planned. Oil production will decline as the country’s oil fields age, the agency said. Hydrocarbons accounted for 49 percent of the economy last year, according to the report.

The country will spend $158.9 billion on infrastructure between 2013 and 2018, the agency said.

The growth in projects will draw workers into the country, raising the population to 2 million people this year and 2.2 million or more next year, according to the report. Per-capita GDP will decline as population growth outpaces economic growth, the agency said.

Inflation will accelerate to 3.6 percent this year from 1.9 percent last year on rising rental costs, the agency said. It will remain at that level in 2014.

The agency based its projections on an oil price of $108.50 a barrel in 2013 and $103.20 next year, according to the report. Liquefied natural gas prices in Japan, the world’s biggest importer of the fuel, will average $15.50 per million British thermal units this year and $15.20 per million British thermal units next year, according to the report.

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