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Qatar could face a budget deficit from 2016 due to the risk of lower than expected oil prices, the IMF warns.
Qatar’s short-term growth outlook is positive, but lower oil prices will lead to the deterioration in the fiscal and external balance, potentially impacting its massive spending program ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The IMF says that Qatar’s economy has so far maintained robust growth momentum, despite the large drop in oil prices since mid-2014, noting that real GDP growth has been stable at about 6% over the past three years driven mostly by double-digit expansion of the non-hydrocarbon sector. Qatar is implementing an “ambitious diversification strategy,” the IMF points out, while retaining “its systemic role in the global natural gas market” (see p6).
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