Economic Overview: Qatar

18th Jan, 2021

Petroleum and natural gas form the backbone to 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. Holding the title to the world's third largest natural gas reserve and the second-largest exporter of natural gas its no surprise that Qatar is our chosen country for the Middle Eastern segment of our EMEIA economic overview series.


Below is a break down of major economic indicators (2018 - 2020)

Economic Parameters 2018 2019 2020 (fst.)
GDP (Billion) 352 359 354
GDP Growth (%) 1.5 0.1 -4.4
GNI (per capita) 94,840 94,170 -
FDI Net (USD Billion) 5.7 7.3 -
Inflation (%) 0.2 0.6


Unemployment Rate (%) 0.1 0.1 0.2
Balance of Trade (USD Billions) 36.8 25.3 -
Exchange Rate USD/LC 3.64 3.64 3.64
Lending Interest Rate (%) 4.9 5.0 2.5
National Debt (USD Billion) 93 102 94
National Debt as % of GDP 48.6 53.2 48.0



Qatar is recovering from the 2014-16 drop in hydrocarbon prices and the 2017 diplomatic rift which affected the GDP, while in 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic, Fuel prices and Gulf Boycott together affected the GDP

GDP Growth (%)

The domestic lockdown, lower tourism, depressed energy prices, troubled relations with Gulf neighbors, and volatile commodity prices together slowed the economic growth.

However, output should rebound next year as their impact is easing while the government is adapting to them.

GNI (per capita)

Qatar was ranked among the highest income countries in 2019, especially after the economic recovery witnessed by the Gulf State and its resilience in the face of world changes over the past few years.

FDI Net (USD Billion)

After the instability that Qatar faced  it turned into different markets and increased its share among global markets especially Turkey.

Inflation (%)

Housing market is cooling down along with economic slowdown and the clean banking maintained the inflation rate under control.

Unemployment Rate (%)

Qatar's labour needs are fulfilled by migrant workers based on short to medium term employment contracts

Balance of Trade (USD Billions)

Qatar’s economy is still highly dependent on hydrocarbon exports, and imports of food, water and capital goods. initiatives to attract foreign investment, develop domestic industries able to substitute for the fall in imports and expand trade with non-Gulf partners

Exchange Rate USD/LC

An outright ban on financial relations with Qatar led to disruptions in the Qatari financial industry – but  authorities' financial resources, in the form of central bank reserves as well as Qatar Investment Authority assets, contained these strains.

Lending Interest Rate (%)

Contagion effects among sectors to be considered hence, Interest rates remains at low level and profitability is impacted

National Debt

Continued growth in spending, a moderation in hydrocarbon prices, and lower transfers from Qatar Petroleum increased the national debt which was also used to replenish the government reserve account. The increase in government debt also reflects the drawdown of export credit facilities for the purchase of military equipment.




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