Weak growth outlook amid ongoing regional tensions


MEDIUM RISK for enterprise

  • Economic risk

  • Business environment risk

  • Political risk

  • Commercial risk

  • Financing risk

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GDP USD 192 bn (World ranking 53, World Bank 2018)
Population 2.8mn (World ranking 140, World Bank 2018)
Form of state Emirate
Head of government Emir Sheikh TAMIM bin Hamad Al Thani
Next elections In late 2019, the formation of a committee to oversee preparations for the first elected council were announced, but no date has been selected as yet
  • Unlike elsewhere in the region, leadership has been passed to a younger generation, providing a degree of popular support in the short term
  • U.S. military support affords some regional protection
  • Long-term development strategy that has accelerated diversification away from upstream oil and gas
  • Large foreign asset base, including a Sovereign Wealth Fund estimated at USD320bn
  • Regional instability (including Iraq and Syria) and uncertainties (including Iran) impact on risk perceptions
  • Conflict with some other Arab states in the region (notably Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt) that escalated in June 2017, resulting in significant economic measures against Qatar
  • U.S. military bases and the country’s oil and gas facilities are potential targets for terrorist or extremist groups
  • Despite the active policy of economic diversification, the economy relies heavily on hydrocarbons and this leaves it vulnerable to changes in levels of global activity and in international commodity prices
  • Data transparency remains weak for an economy of its size and strategic importance

Trade structure by destination/origin

(% of total)

Exports Rank Imports
Japan 22%
12% China
Korea, Republic of 15%
11% United States
India 13%
9% United Arab Emirates
China 6%
7% Germany
United Arab Emirates 6%
7% Japan

Trade structure by product

(% of total)

Exports Rank Imports
Gas, natural and manufactured 54%
13% Road vehicles
Petroleum & products thereof 28%
8% Other industrial machinery & parts
Plastics in primary forms 2%
6% Electrical machinery & appliances
Organic chemicals 1%
6% Other transport equipment
Fertilizers 1%
5% Iron and steel


Euler Hermes

Economic Research Team

Manfred Stamer

Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East