Qatar’s current account surplus expands to QR60bn

Revised estimates of Balance of Payments (BoP) for Qatar during 2018 showed an overall surplus after recording consecutive deficits in previous three years. The surplus amounted to QR57.7bn as against a deficit of QR65.1bn during 2017. Both the current account and the capital and financial account recorded surpluses during the year.

The Qatar Central Bank’s (QCB) 42nd Annual Report (2018) noted the country’s current account recorded an increasing surplus through each of the quarters of 2018, primarily due to increased merchandise exports because of higher average global energy prices. Capital and financial account recorded a small surplus following normalisaiton of capital flows, in contrast to a large deficit in the previous year.

The surplus in the current account in 2018 was QR60bn, about 2.6 times the surplus of QR23.4bn recorded in 2017. As a percentage of GDP, the current account surplus stood at about 8.7 percent in 2018, significantly higher than about 3.8 percent recorded in 2017.

Within the current account, the merchandise (goods) trade account surplus in 2018 increased to QR185.6bn from QR133.7bn in 2017, an increase of 38.8 percent, which was on top of an increase of 44.8 percent in the previous year. In contrast, the traditional deficits in services, income and current transfers accounts increased by 3.7 percent to QR51.8bn from QR49.9bn in 2017. The deficit in the income account increased by about nine-fold to QR13.6bn from QR1.5bn in the previous year.

Increase in the trade surplus during 2018 was due to a much higher growth in exports than imports. While exports grew by 24.9 percent to QR306.8bn, primarily driven by hydrocarbon exports, imports increased by a much lower rate of 8.3 percent to QR121.2bn from the previous year. With the sustained recovery in energy prices, the share of energy related exports in total exports increased to 86.0 percent from 84,2 percent. As hydrocarbon exports gained with an elevated global energy prices, total exports as percentage of gDP further increased to 43.9 percent from 40.4 percent. The share of merchandise exports in total current account receipts increased to 65.2 percent in 2018 from 57.1 percent in 2017.

The country’s total public revenues for 2018 stood at QR207.9bn, significantly higher than QR163.3bn during 2017. Both the components of revenue i.e. “oil and gas’ and “miscellaneous transferable” increased from the previous year. Revenue from “oil and gas” increased by 30.2 percent to QR173.1bn from QR133.0bn. The increase in revenue from “miscellaneous transferable”, consisting of various fees and taxes, during 2018 was by 14.9 percent to QR34.9bn from QR30.3bn during 2017.

Revenue from oil and gas continued to constitute the major source of public revenue with a share of 83.3 percent during 2018, higher than 81.5 percent recorded during 2017.

Source from: The Peninsula