Qatar's volume gross domestic product (GDP) growth is forecast to moderate to 4.5 percent in 2013 from a projected growth of 6.2 percent in 2012, the government's General Secretariat for Development Planning said in "Qatar Economic Outlook 2012-2013" report.
The estimate for 2012 represents an upward revision from the 5.1 percent forecast made in QEO 2011-2012. The revision lies mainly in an overestimation of gas production (specifically condensates) in 2011. A delay in attaining higher gas output last year coupled with a marginal forecast increase in oil production estimates for this year adds 1.7 percentage points to estimated growth of hydrocarbon production because this year's levels are now compared with last year's lower base. The combined impact is to lift the estimated growth of aggregate GDP by 1.1 percentage points, which accounts for all the upward revision.
The lower realized gas production in 2011 means that QEO 2011-2012 overestimated GDP growth for that year by 0.9 percentage points. The overestimation of the "consensus" (the median of a poll of forecasts) was 2.9 percentage points. In 2012, the non-hydrocarbon economy (defined as all activity other than upstream oil and gas production) is expected to grow by 9.2 percent.
Manufacturing – most of which is downstream hydrocarbon processing – is forecast to grow by 10.0 percent in 2012, somewhat below the recent trend. In 2013, the statistical boost given to 2012's GDP growth by the previous year's delay in additional hydrocarbon capacity coming on stream will have faded.
Volume production in the oil and gas sector is expected to fall–explained by declining oil production as Qatar's oil fields age and by flat production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other gases – taking down overall oil and gas volume GDP by 1.2 percent.
Unlike hydrocarbons, the non-oil and gas sector should maintain its momentum in 2013. Output growth is forecast to stay healthy at 9.5 percent, with construction posting 10.0 percent expansion. Growth in manufacturing, utilities and services is also likely to be robust.
By end- 2013, the Pearl GTL facility will probably be operating at close to full capacity, achieving full output in early 2014. Similarly, work to ease bottlenecks in older refineries (Ras Laffan Condensate 1 refinery and Oryx GTL plant) will also contribute to overall manufacturing growth. Beyond the outlook period, Ras Laffan Condensate 2 refinery will begin construction in 2014, and is expected to be operating by 2016.
And a mixed feed cracker petrochemical plant, with construction starting by 2013, will be commissioned by 2016. Feed for these projects is available and has been committed.
Nominal GDP growth, which with terms-of-trade changes, as in Qatar, can be a more accurate barometer of the resources available to the nation is poised to outpace volume GDP growth in 2012, rising by 11.2 percent.
The Saudi Gazette