DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar’s economy grew 11 percent in 2009, mainly due its natural gas sector, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Qatar, the world’s largest natural gas exporter, is set to outperform key players in the world’s top oil producing region — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — in coming years due to massive expansion of its gas facilities.
Attiyah, also the energy minister, did not say whether the growth was in real or nominal terms and did not give further detail in comments published on the website of daily Al Watan.
The cash-rich Gulf country was expected to grow 8.0 percent in 2009 and 12.5 percent in real terms this year, a Reuters poll showed, after a 16.4 percent expansion in 2008.
Qatar’s policymakers had been expecting gross domestic product to jump 9 percent and 16 percent in fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively. The fiscal year in Qatar, which pegs its currency to the dollar, starts in April.
“Asian emerging economies are lining up for the Qatari gas,” said Farah Ahmed Hersi, senior economist at Masraf Al Rayan in Doha. “The economy is pretty robust and it will grow constantly in double digits over the next few years.”
Qatar’s nominal GDP rose 11 percent in the third quarter compared with the previous three months, but fell 28.3 percent on an annual basis, preliminary estimates from its statistics office showed last month.
The country’s four new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants were expected to double capacity by the end of 2009 in the world’s richest nation in per capita income.