Qatar is set to post another year of record surplus with oil price averaging $108.5 per barrel in the first nine months of this fiscal year, up 67% on the budget estimate for 2012-13. The country’s budget for the current fiscal has been based on a conservative oil price of $65 for a barrel.
But Qatari crude has already averaged $108.5 a barrel between April and December 2012 and $111.2 for the entire year, data compiled by QNB in association with Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) show.
Previously, QNB Group said it expected a surplus of QR58bn in 2012-13, which would be twice the level that is budgeted (QR28bn) and set a new record in absolute terms.
Qatar’s strong show in exports, particularly in liquefied natural gas, gas-to-liquids, and petrochemical products, is also contributing to the country’s surplus in the current fiscal.
The huge surplus would enable Qatar to comfortably retire many of its debts and give further push to infrastructure upgrade in the country.
The 2012-13 budget expects revenue of QR206bn, which would be slightly down on last year, based on the oil price of $65 a barrel. However, the hydrocarbon revenue should be comfortably above budget. QNB Group forecasts a 10% rise in revenue to QR243bn.
The budget set aside QR116bn for current expenditure, almost the same as in 2011-12, whereas QNB Group expects this to rise slightly to QR124bn. The capital budget is set at QR62bn, a 24% rise on the 2011-12 outturn. This is close to QNB Group’s forecast, as the imperative to get major infrastructure projects underway should ensure that the allocated budget is almost fully utilized.
QNB expects government expenditures on major infrastructures will carry on during the current financial year to shape Qatar’s economy. Qatar’s crude production has picked up in the recent months on account of the “completion of maintenance works” in some oil fields, QNB said.
Oil production averaged 750,000 bpd in November, which shows a 0.7% increase year-on-year and 1.7% increase month-on-month. The country’s international reserves continued to move up and reached a record level of $40bn in November 2012.
Data showed that the Qatari oil price had fallen below the three digit figure only once so far in the current fiscal 2012-13. In June the oil price averaged $95.8 a barrel.
The average price fetched by Qatari crude in the other months of the fiscal 2012 –13 is $119.4 (April); $108.9 (May); $100.1 (July); $109.7 (August); $113.2 (September); $110.9 (October); $110.1 (November) and $109 (December).