Qatar: 23-year growth low in 2017-Moderate recovery in 2018

5 min
Manfred Stamer
Manfred Stamer Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East

Recently published data put Q4 2017 real GDP growth at +1.8% y/y, slightly down from +1.9% in Q3, taking full-year 2017 growth to just +1.6%, the lowest annual increase since 1994. The weak full-year performance reflected declines of -1.1% in mining and quarrying (accounting for 30% of GDP) – as oil production cuts agreed under the OPEC deal from November 2016 curbed output in the hydrocarbon sector – and -1.3% in wholesale and retail trade. Meanwhile, the construction sector (+15%) and the financial industry (+7.6%) continued to rise rapidly, despite the Saudi Arabia-led embargo of several Arab states against Qatar that began in June last year. However, the latter affected the manufacturing sector initially, which grew by a more modest +2.9% in 2017, although it rebounded to an average +6.1% y/y in H2. We expect growth to pick up to +2.5% in 2018 on the back of rising gas production (oil production will remain curtailed due to the extension of the OPEC deal through year-end) and increased infrastructure investment for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.