Qatar budget surplus narrows to $1.4 billion

DUBAI — Qatar’s state budget surplus narrowed to 2.9 per cent of quarterly economic output in the third quarter of its 2011-12 fiscal year, as revenue dropped compared with the previous three months while spending took off, data showed on Thursday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 8 Jun 2012, 11:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:23 PM

The world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas booked a surplus of 5.1 billion riyals ($1.4 billion) in October-December 2011, down from a hefty surplus of 42.2 billion riyals, or 25.6 percent of gross domestic product, in the previous quarter, preliminary estimates published by the central bank showed. On a cumulative basis, the budget surplus reached 45.1 billion riyals in the first three quarters, or 7.1 per cent of 2011 GDP, a Reuters calculation based on official data showed.

The government had targeted a surplus of 22.5 billion riyals in the fiscal year, which ended in March. Revenue dropped almost 10 per cent to 55.8 billion riyals in October-December from a year earlier, bringing cumulative income for the first three fiscal quarters to 102 per cent of the 2011-12 target. It fell 28 per cent compared with July-September.

Government expenditures jumped 62 per cent in the period from a year ago to 50.7 billion riyals and met 87 per cent of the full-year target on a cumulative basis, the data showed. Spending surged by 42 per cent from the previous quarter.

Qatar’s economy is expected to slow this year from 14 per cent in 2011 as the impact of two decades of gas output expansion fades. But the government plans to boost spending by 27 per cent in the new 2012-13 fiscal year is likely to help keeping it in high single digits.

In its 2011-12 budget, the cash-rich country pencilled in spending worth 139.9 billion riyals. 

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