Qatar to sustain spending ahead of World Cup

12 January 2015

The budget for 2015/16 will be based on a price of $55 a barrel according to a report in the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq

Qatar’s budget for 2015/16, which is due to be unveiled in March, is likely to show high levels of state spending, as the country shrugs off the low price of oil and continues to prepare for the 2022 Fifa football World Cup.

Speaking in November, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said the budget would not be affected by low oil prices due to the country’s substantial financial buffers.

“I just would like to emphasise that our economy is strong and solid, [and] will not be affected by such developments, and our budget is based on a very conservative estimate of the price of fuel,” he told a session of the country’s Shura Council.

The US’ Moody’s Investors Service currently rates Qatar’s long-term debt as Aa2, on a par with Kuwait and the UAE, which all share the highest sovereign rating in the Middle East.

On 14 December, Qatar’s Ministry of Development Planning & Statistics predicted the economy would grow by 7.7 per cent in 2015, indicating it expects very little disruption to its finances due to the decline in global oil prices seen over 2014.

Qatar had the third-lowest breakeven oil price in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2014, according to the Washington-based IMF, and the Ministry of Development Planning & Statistics has said the country is expected to record a budget surplus in the calendar years 2014-16.

In March last year, the government approved a record budget of QR225.7bn ($62bn) for the 2014/15 fiscal year.

The budget was 3.5 per cent bigger than the previous year, with the increase driven by spending on infrastructure.

The 2014/15 budget was based on an oil price of $65 a barrel. The budget for 2015/16 will be based on a price of $55 a barrel according to a report in the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq, which cited a statement issued by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.

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