Qatar’s Surplus in Foreign Trade Cut in Half from Last Year

The foreign trade surplus for Qatar shrank by almost 52% to $3.3 billion during September from the same month one year ago due to low natural gas and oil prices. This came from preliminary data released by the government’s Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics.

Exports of its petroleum gases and other hydrocarbons dropped 40% during September showed the data that was supplied by the government spokesperson.

During September, the finance minister of Qatar Ali Sherif Al Emadi said the Gulf nation would not pull back its projects on economic development or cut the subsidies provided by the state for food and fuel in response to the low prices of natural gas and oil, because the government’s finances had remained strong.

Those comments set apart Qatar from other wealthy nations in the Gulf Arab region that export oil. The five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council started to curb spending or have reviewed costly subsidies to consumers because of the drop in energy prices that began in June of 2014.

Qatar, the top liquefied natural gas exporter in the world holds a strong position financially. Economists predict the Doha government would only run a deficit in the budget of 0.7% of the gross domestic product for 2015.

Officials in Qatar have announced their plans to spend nearly $200 billion on projects for the infrastructure over the upcoming decade many of which are related to the hosting by Qatar of the soccer World Cup in 2022.

The construction industry has said that some projects were delayed or had been suspended over the last year, partly to avoid any waste and to ensure overall quality.

The Gulf oil exporting nations have been hit hard by the dramatic drop of the price of oil, while at the same time that has caused many international companies that are directly or indirectly involved in the energy business to cut back on spending and make big cost cuts including eliminating thousands of jobs.

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