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Qatar to use $549m budget surplus to reduce debt

Man looks out at Doha's skyline. Qatar's debt as a percentage of GDP is expected to be just over 37% in 2024 Unsplash/Florian Wehde
Qatar's debt as a percentage of GDP is expected to be just over 37% in 2024
  • Surpluses forecast until 2030
  • LNG production rising
  • Total Q1 revenue down 22%

Qatar recorded a budget surplus of QAR2 billion ($549 million) in the first quarter of 2024, its finance ministry has announced.

The ministry said the surplus would be used to reduce public debt, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency.

Total revenue was QAR53.4 billion ($14.7 billion) in Q1, down 22 percent year on year. Oil revenue made up QAR47.3 billion ($13 billion) of the total for Qatar, which is one of the world’s largest LNG exporters.



Total expenditure amounted to QAR51.4 billion ($14 billion) in Q1, up 5 percent year on year.

The country’s GDP is forecast to be almost $245 billion this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Its government gross debt as a percentage of GDP is expected to drop to just over 37 percent in 2024, almost half the figure for 2020, according to the latest IMF World Economic Outlook.

Qatar is expected to record budget surpluses until 2030, driven by an increase in gas production at the North Field Expansion project, according to Fitch Ratings.

Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwait, Qatar’s minister of finance, said earlier this month that Doha wants to grow its non-hydrocarbon economy by 4 percent a year – but also plans to increase LNG production by 85 percent to 142 million tonnes a year by 2030. 

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, highlighted the country’s diversification strategy in a speech to the Qatar Economic Forum this month. Its wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, would invest in Central Asia and Africa, he said.

“We invest everywhere in the world where there is a high return,” the PM added.

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