Qatar’s scaling as a key hydrocarbon supplier served the country for its growth and plays a vital role in the economic activity and wealth generation. During 2015, Qatar’s foreign trade showed slowdown where its sum of exports and imports of goods declined by 32.5% over the previous year. Developments in foreign trade resulted mainly from the ongoing oil, gas, industrial and infrastructure related projects in view of the forthcoming World Cup to be hosted in the country in 2022.
IQatar’s overall exports (including re-exports) declined by 39.0% to QR281.4 bn, from the previous year level of QR461.2bn.The relative share of exports of goods in total foreign trade stood at 71.0%. Further, exports-GDP ratio decreased to 46.3% in 2015 from 60.3% during 2014.
Import of goods C.I.F (based on cost including insurance and freight) declined by 8.5% to QR115.1 billion in 2015 from QR 125.8 billion registered during 2014. The relative share of imports in total foreign trade was 29.0% in 2015 as compared with 21.4% in 2014. Import to GDP ratio stands at 19.0% during 2015 as compared with 16.5% in 2014.
Qatar’s foreign trade (sum of exports & imports of goods) fell by 32.5% to QR 396.5 bn during 2015. The ratio of foreign trade to GDP (an indicator of openness of the economy) decreased to 65.3% in 2015 from 76.8% in the previous year.
Commodity Wise Exports
In 2015, decline in Qatar’s exports (including exports of domestic goods and re-exports), largely reflected to the fall in fuel prices. There was, also a slight fall in gas production due to temporary shutdown because of scheduled maintenances during the year. Majority of Qatari exports are energy-related where exports of LNG (including condensate) and oil together constitutes 79.0% of the total exports revenue.
Exports proceeds from crude oil declined by 51.3% during the year could be due to fall in oil price as well as marginal reduction in production. During 2015, share of other exports increased to 17.6% from 13.3% observed in 2011, showing of the indication of increasing diversification towards the non- hydrocarbon sector in the economy. Qatar’s diversification is aimed at reducing reliance on the hydrocarbon sector for growth and revenue, while retaining the country’s role in the global natural gas market.
Geographical Distribution of Exports
Japan, South Korea, India, China and United Arab Emirates (UAE) were the top five destinations for Qatar exports which together accounted for 62.7% of the total exports (Figure 7-3). Exports to Japan decreased by 51.7% while exports to South Korea, India, China declined by 43.9%, 42.5% and 44.3% respectively as compared with previous year. Among the Arab region, exports to GCC countries decreased by 25.8% over previous year where UAE remained as the major destination followed by Saudi Arabia.
Exports to all regions declined and major decline observed for Asian region by 45.3% over previous year. During 2015, 72.1% of the total exports were towards Asian countries, a principal destination followed by 13.2% towards European countries. The share of exports to Arab and American countries were 9.4% and 2.7% respectively while rest of the countries shared 2.6% of the total. During 2015, the share of total exports to Asian region decreased by 8.3 percentage points whereas the share of total of all other regions increased over the previous year.
Imports of goods from China and USA continued to be the top imports partners of Qatar accounting over 22% of the total in 2015. Particularly, imports from China gained a major share of 9.6% in 2011 to 11.5% while other major partners like United Arab Emirates, Germany and Japan shared 8.8%, 7.5%, 6.5% respectively of the total during the year 2015 (Figure 7-4). Imports from GCC countries accounted 15.9% of the total imports during 2015 with UAE remained as the major source of Qatari imports followed by Saudi Arabia in this region.
During 2015, 34.8% of the total imports were from Europe followed by 31.0% from Asian countries (Table 7-3). Imports from Arab and American countries were 17.7% and 14.1% of the total imports. Further, imports from European countries increased over the previous year, the only region whose share in total imports also increased during 2015 (Table 7-3) whereas the same for American region, Asian region and Arab region decreased.