The rude health of the local economy has been further underlined by the release of new data from both the Planning Council and Finance Ministry. The council has released preliminary data for gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005 and substantially revised up its 2004 GDP estimate. The ministry has also announced a significant hike in the 2004/05 budget surplus and released for the first time preliminary estimates for the 2005/06 budget surplus.
In its preliminary estimates for 2005, the council puts nominal GDP growth at 33.3 per cent. The main contributor was a 46.3 per cent increase in the oil and gas sector. Non-oil sector growth was estimated at 17.6 per cent, fuelled primarily by a 39.3 per cent expansion in finance, insurance and real estate and a 36 per cent rise in building and construction. The council also revised 2004 GDP growth up to 33.3 per cent in 2004, from the preliminary estimate of 20 per cent. The main factor was a near doubling in the manufacturing sector to QR 11,995 ($3,295 million), making it a leading non-oil industry. Final budget figures released by the ministry for fiscal 2004/05 show a surplus of QR 19,624 million ($5,391 million), a 37 per cent increase on the preliminary estimate of QR 14,294 million ($3,927 million). Preliminary data for the 2005/06 budget shows an actual surplus of QR 14,714 million ($4,042 million), compared with a budgeted surplus of just QR 218 million ($59.8 million). web