Economy of Qatar
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Petroleum is the cornerstone of Qatar's economy and accounts for more than 70% of total government revenue, more than 60% of gross domestic product, and roughly 85% of export earnings. Proved oil reserves of 3.7 billion barrels (588,000,000 m³) should ensure continued output at current levels for 23 years. Oil has given Qatar a per capita GDP three-fourths that of the leading West European industrial countries. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 7000 km³, more than 5% of the world total, third largest in the world. Production and export of natural gas are becoming increasingly important. Long-term goals feature the development of off-shore petroleum and the diversification of the economy.
 Macro-economic trend
Qatar is now the richest country in the Muslim world. Current GDP per capita registered a world record-breaking peak growth of 1,156% in the Seventies. This became quickly unsustainable and Qatar's current GDP per capita contracted 53% in the Eighties. But rising global oil demand helped current GDP per capita to expand 94% in the Nineties. Diversification is still a long-term issue for this over-exposed economy.
This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Qatar at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Qatari Rials.
|Year||Gross Domestic Product||US Dollar Exchange||Inflation Index (2000=100)|
|1980||28,631||3.65 Qatari Rials||53|
|1985||22,829||3.63 Qatari Rials||64|
|1990||26,792||3.64 Qatari Rials||77|
|1995||29,622||3.63 Qatari Rials||85|
|2000||64,646||3.63 Qatari Rials||100|
|2005||137,783||3.64 Qatari Rials||115|
For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 5.82 Qatari Rials only.
 Oil production
In 1973, oil production and revenues increased dramatically, moving Qatar out of the ranks of the world's poorest countries and providing it with one of the highest per capita incomes. Despite a marked decline in levels of oil production and prices since 1982, Qatar remains a wealthy country.
Qatar's economy was in a downturn from 1982 to 1989. OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quotas on crude oil production, the lower price for oil, and the generally unpromising outlook on international markets reduced oil earnings. In turn, the Qatari government's spending plans had to be cut to match lower income. The resulting recessionary local business climate caused many firms to lay off expatriate staff. With the economy recovering in the 1990s, expatriate populations, particularly from Egypt and South Asia, have grown again.
Oil production will not long remain at peak levels of 500,000 barrels (80,000 m³) per day, as oil fields are projected to be mostly depleted by 2023. Fortunately, large natural gas reserves have been located off Qatar's northeast coast. Qatar's proved reserves of gas are the third-largest in the world, exceeding 7000 km³. The economy was boosted in 1991 by completion of the $1.5-billion Phase I of North Field gas development. In 1996, the Qatargas project began exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Further phases of North Field gas development costing billions of dollars are in various stages of planning and development.
Qatar's heavy industrial projects, all based in Umm Said, include a refinery with a 50,000 barrels (8,000 m³) per day capacity, a fertilizer plant for urea and ammonia, a steel plant, and a petrochemical plant. All these industries use gas for fuel. Most are joint ventures between European and Japanese firms and the state-owned Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC). The U.S. is the major equipment supplier for Qatar's oil and gas industry, and U.S. companies are playing a major role in North Field gas development.
Qatar pursues a vigorous program of "Qatarization," under which all joint venture industries and government departments strive to move Qatari nationals into positions of greater authority. Growing numbers of foreign-educated Qataris, including many educated in the U.S., are returning home to assume key positions formerly occupied by expatriates. In order to control the influx of expatriate workers, Qatar has tightened the administration of its foreign manpower programs over the past several years. Security is the principal basis for Qatar's strict entry and immigration rules and regulations.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $22.51 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 8.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $26,100 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
services: 18.8% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.8% (2005 est.)
Labor force: 440,000 (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate: 2.7% (2001)
revenues: $17.31 billion
expenditures: $11.31 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.2 billion (2005 est.)
Industries: crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate: 10% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production: 9.735 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption: 9.053 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products: fruits, vegetables; poultry, dairy products, beef; fish
Exports: $24.9 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities: liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Exports - partners: Japan 41.9%, South Korea 15.8%, Singapore 9.1%, India 5.4% (2004)
Imports: $6.706 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
Imports - partners: France 26.6%, US 9.5%, Saudi Arabia 9.4%, UAE 6.3%, Germany 5.2%, Japan 5.2%, UK 5.1% (2004)
Debt - external: $20.63 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $NA
Currency: 1 Qatari riyal (QR) = 100 dirhams
Exchange rates: Qatari rials per US dollar - 3.64 (2003), 3.64 (2002), 3.64 (2001), 3.64 (2000), 3.64 (1999)
 See also
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