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Oil and gas lift Qatar’s budget surplus past $8bn in Q3

A Qatargas offshore complex. The country's oil and gas revenues rose 67% in the first half of 2022
  • Ministry of Finance reports third-quarter revenues of $22.5bn
  • Hydrocarbons account for 93% of the total for July to September
  • World Cup set to have big impact on Q4 figures

Qatar posted a budget surplus of QR30 billion ($8.2 billion) in the third quarter of 2022, according to its Ministry of Finance. 

Revenues for the quarter stood at QR81.8 billion and 93 percent of the total – QR76.3 billion – came from oil and gas, the ministry announced on Tuesday, via the state-run Qatar News Agency. Non-oil revenues were QR5.5 billion.

Total expenditure in the third quarter was QR51.8 billion, of which QR14.6 billion was spent on salaries and wages and QR18 billion on expenses. Incidental capital expenditure amounted to QR1.2 billion and spending on major projects was QR18 billion. 

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Finance revealed that Qatar’s budget surplus for the first half of 2022 was QR47.3 billion – a massive increase from the QR4 billion surplus recorded in the same period of 2021. Oil and gas revenues increased to QR117.6 billion, a 67 percent rise from QR70.4 billion in H1 2021.

Total revenues for the first half of the year were QR150.7 billion, while total expenditure was QR103.4 billion. 

The World Cup 2022, which ends on Sunday at the Lusail stadium, has lifted business sentiment and activity already this year and is expected to have a big impact on Q4 revenues, particularly in travel and hospitality. 

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index for Qatar, published last week, has recorded the strongest business optimism in more than two years. 

The PMI stood at 48.8 in November, up from 48.4 in October. It is the first rise in six months and pointed to a “near-stabilisation in overall non-energy private sector business conditions”, said S&P Global, which compiles the index.

There was a faster increase in business activity driven by wholesale, retail and services, and a record rise in selling prices for hotels, flights and more reflecting the surge in tourism demand.

The report, which is based on survey data from the Qatar Financial Centre stock exchange, also identified the strongest business outlook in more than two years linked to post-tournament opportunities. 

CBRE’s Q3 property market outlook for Qatar, published last week, also reflected the World Cup’s impact on hospitality. In October, the average daily rate for rooms was 14.7 percent higher than a year earlier, according to CBRE. 

The number of residential transactions in Qatar dropped 34.9 percent compared to the same period last year, to stand at 1,119 deals. “Both occupiers and investors are delaying purchasing decisions until after the World Cup,” CBRE said.

“For the latter, this period will be particularly relevant due to leasable stock which had been reserved for the tournament being returned to the market.”