The decrease is attributed to fall of global fuel prices due to COVID-19
Qatar’s economy saw a trade surplus of QAR. 19.6bn during the third quarter of 2020, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority.
Total exports saw an increase of 8.6% compared to Q2 of 2020, amounting to QR41.1bn. However, this is a 35.5% decrease as compared to Q3 of 2019, economists say this is primarily due to the decline in exports of mineral fuels, lubricants and other related materials as a result of the fall in fuel prices due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The value of the nation’s imports decreased by 16% to 21.5 billion riyals in the third quarter, a decrease of 3.6 per cent compared to Q2, 2020 and a decrease of 16.5 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2019. Some analysts say the shrinking value of imports is due in part, by the decrease in machinery and transport equipment used for oil production; a central element of Qatar’s economy.
Qatar’s general government debt is estimated to have dropped to 48% of GDP in 2020 with an expectation of reducing even further next year to 43.1%. This compared to last year’s figure of 53.2% according to French multinational investment bank, Societe Generale.
Despite this, Qatar’s credit profile will remain resilient, supported by its wealthy economy and strong government and external net asset positions, according to Standard & Poor’s (S&P), an international credit rating agency.
Income levels in Qatar have remained among the highest in the world despite a sharp COVID-19-induced decline in economic activity and low energy prices.
Despite the current slump, analysts believe that Qatar’s GDP could potentially increase to $208bn in 2024 from $162bn this year, an increase of almost 30% over four years.
Two other economic indicators, the rate of inflation and that of unemployment, also point to a healthy and growing economy over the next few years.