Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) is expecting a contraction of Qatar real GDP per capita growth from 2012 onwards, as the large investment programme to boost liquid natural gas production capacity runs out.
Qatar currently holds the world highest GDP per capita with an estimated US$104,000 in 2012, and S&P’s assigned AA/stable/A-1+ rating to the country maintaining its “stable outlook”.
According to S&P’s, Qatar was one of the wealthiest economies it rated, having “high levels of economic wealth and strong fiscal and external balance”.
However the banking system’s increasing reliance on external funding represents an external risk, S&P said. “In 2012, we estimate that the banking system’s net external liability position increased to US$22bn from US$12bn in 2011. Nevertheless, we expect Qatar’s net external asset position to continue to grow to over 100 percent of current account receipts,” S&P’s reported.
In recent years the country funded by debt high-profile acquisitions including London luxury retailer Harrods and a stake in Porsche-VW, putting the government’s net debt at about 50 percent of GDP.
Qatar‘s rating is constrained by limited monetary flexibility and rising external balance sheet risks alongside still-nascent public institutions and limited disclosure, particularly with respect to government assets and their returns, S&P’s reported.
Qatar‘s main strength is represented by its oil and gas reserves. At 2011 production levels of Qatar’s oil reserves will last around 43 years, S&P’s said. Qatar’s gas reserves, which are the world’s third largest, will last more than 170 years at 2011 production levels
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