Qatar, as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, benefiting from a common market with other Gulf states, attracts a number of our clients. The country boasts an abundance of natural gas, as well as sizeable oil reserves. The Qatari government remains popular, thanks to impressive GDP per capita, combined with universal state benefits without any taxation.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments in Qatar, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on 18 of Qatar’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our results-proven research teams. Our aim is to keep you one step ahead, so you can operate with confidence in Qatar.

Qatar Country Risk

BMI View:

Core Views

  • Qatar's short-term political risk profile remains among the most stable in the region. Despite enjoying little in the way of democratic freedom, Qataris benefit from massive hydrocarbon wealth which is spread generously across the country's native population and enjoy the highest per capita GDP in the world. A small population - and one without much inclination to protest against the government - will keep the country insulated from large-scale public unrest in the immediate term.

  • The performance of the Qatari economy will be more mixed than in recent years, amidst the intertwined pressures of the global energy slump and tightening domestic liquidity. We forecast real economic growth of 3.1% this year and 3.6% in 2017, driven mainly by strong growth in investments as preparations for the FIFA 2022 World Cup continue.


Qatar Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Qatar Operational Risk

BMI View:

BMI View : There are considerable investment opportunities in Qatar, due to the requirements of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which has resulted in a booming construction sector, the continuing importance of the LNG export market, and a wealthy consumer market. Qatar offers one of the most liberal tax regimes in the world, a lack of bureaucratic obstacles for businesses, and an excellent rule of law, all of which contribute towards a welcoming environment for foreign investment. These are the main factors behind the country's...

Qatar Crime & Security

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar's crime and security environment is one of the most conducive to the secure and safe operation of a business in the MENA region. With relatively low crime rates and highly capable police force, businesses can be assured of efficient crime prevention, thus mitigating costs for insurance and additional security measures. Simultaneously, although the region is notoriously unstable, Qatar faces limited risk of terrorist attacks and enjoys open diplomatic channels with neighbouring states within the MENA region. The country also has robust security forces and a well equipped military. Finally, the country has a limited presence of organised crime and robust financial and cybersecurity protocols and organisations. Overall, Qatar is a regional outperformer in the MENA Crime and Security Risk Index, in third position behind the United Arab Emirates and Oman with a score of 72.1 out of 100.


Qatar Labour Market

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar's labour market is restricted, leading to several potential risks for investors. On the positive side, the country's high literacy rates, large migrant population, and low employment costs mean that it comes second in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the BMI Labour Market Risks Index, scoring 60.4 out of 100. However, these positives mask the serious risks posed to businesses in Qatar due to restrictive labour laws, particularly regarding expatriate workers, and the poor quality of education in the country.

A very high rate of urbanisation, widespread literacy, and a large proportion of the working age population in employment mean that Qatar scores very highly in terms of the...

Qatar Logistics

BMI View:

BMI View : Qatar is well-suited to meet its logistical needs in the short- to mid-term future. With one eye on the upcoming FIFA World Cup, and an overarching focus on achieving the 2030 Qatar National Vision objectives, the country's infrastructure is being overhauled and modernised. Combined with regionally relaxed and cost-efficient trading procedures, Qatar is well placed to ensure that its international trade is maintained at its required levels. For these reasons, Qatar scores 61.1 out of 100, placing it in sixth position regionally.

At present, Qatar's international trading and logistical infrastructure largely caters for the exporting of fossil fuels and the importing of construction materials and food. With the world's largest LNG exporting facility, and several major airport and seaport refurbishment and development projects coming online...

Qatar Trade & Investment

BMI View:

BMI View : Opportunities for investment in Qatar have opened up in recent years due to the requirements of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022, which has resulted in a booming construction sector, and the continuing importance of the LNG (liquefied natural gas) export market. Qatar benefits from one of the most liberal tax regimes in the world, a lack of bureaucratic obstacles for businesses, and an excellent rule of law. These are the main factors behind its high score of 63.8 out of 100 in the BMI Trade and Investment Market Risks Index, ranking the country second in the MENA region. Nevertheless, BMI highlights that there are significant risks to foreign investors in Qatar, as the country remains biased in favour of domestic sources of investment, its...

Qatar Industry Coverage (18)

Qatar Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: We believe that robust economic growth and a large pipeline of infrastructure projects should lead to another positive year for the Qatari new vehicle sales market in 2016. We are targeting 11.3% sales growth for the sector as a whole, with passenger cars set to outperform commercial vehicles.

Passenger Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Sales
f = BMI forecast. Source: QSA, BMI
Key Views
  • Commercial...

Qatar Commercial Banking

BMI View:

Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

Qatar Consumer Electronics

BMI View:

BMI View: We continue to maintain a positive outlook for the Qatari consumer electronics market and the macroeconomic landscape of the country in general. Qatar will not feel the finch of the prolonged global oil price slump. The economic activity in the country will be bolstered by high incomes, a strong discretionary spending power level, a steady population growth from the influx of migrant workers and the government's continued commitment to investment in the ICT sector. The upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup taking place in Qatar is also a source of growth at this point and we estimate that it will fuel growth over the next five years. In contrast to other early adopting markets, we envisage medium term growth for device categories including high-end smartphones, tablets and TVs due to the extremely...

Qatar Food & Drink

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar will experience some of the fastest consumer spending growth in the region, translating into sustained growth in the food and drink sector, especially through premiumisation. Nonetheless, the small consumer base will limit the attractiveness of the Qatari market for food and drink manufacturers, as well as mass grocery retailers.

Headline Industry Data (local currency)

  • 2015 food consumption growth = +6.0%; compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2014 to 2019 = +5.5%.

  • 2015 bottled water value = +13.2%; CAGR 2014 to 2019 = +12.1%.

  • 2015 mass grocery retail sales = +7.5%; CAGR 2014 to 2019 = +6.9%.

Qatar Freight Transport

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar is set to see positive but moderate growth across its two freight transport sectors in 2016. Road freight will see a slight decline from 2015 levels but will stay on a similar trajectory of just under 5% growth over our medium-term forecast period to 2020, while air freight will growth at a marginally faster average rate of 5.1% per year. Although air freight will see a slightly better growth rate than the country's road network, the large majority of infrastructure investment will be channelled towards roads before rail transport (in terms of significantly affecting the total freight mix) comes online in the longer term after 2020.

Qatar's road freight network will benefit significantly from huge infrastructure investments over our medium-term forecast to 2020. Although y-o-y growth will decrease marginally to 4.8% in 2016 from 5.0% in...

Qatar Information Technology

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar's IT market has the strongest outlook of the high income Middle East countries throughout the medium term. We forecast total IT spending will increase at a CAGR of 6.9% throughout 2016-2020 to a value of QAR5.2bn in 2020. The hardware market is highly lucrative and we expect this to remain the case, but volume growth potential is diminished by the fact the PC market is saturated, meaning vendors will rely on replacement sales. As such, software and services will be the main growth engine for the IT market. In this segment,...

Qatar Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: Our forecast for strong growth in Qatar's construction industry between 2016 and 2025 is supported by investment flows into commercial construction and the transport network as the country readies itself to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, as well by the government's efforts to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons and into knowledge-based sectors.

Forecast & Industry Developments

  • We anticipate Qatar's construction industry to record 14% real growth in 2016 and 12% over the next five years up to 2020. Nominal industry value is set to rise from an estimated USD14bn in 2015 to USD50.2bn in 2025.

  • Investment flows into non-residential building as the country readies itself to host the FIFA World Cup...

Qatar Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: Continuing economic growth (and diversification) should underpin mid-single digit growth in premiums annually for much of the forecast period to 2020. However, price competition in the property insurance sub-sector and, almost certainly, in the motor insurance sub-sector will result in a fall in penetration from the current fairly low GDP level of 1.6%. Probable headwinds include further reduction in expatriate workers (curtailing demand for health insurance). It remains to be seen whether Qatar's insurers are able to benefit from the infrastructure spending associated with the FIFA World Cup.

Total Gross Written Premiums (Qatar 2013-2020)

Qatar Medical Devices

BMI View:

BMI Industry View: The Qatari medical device market will grow strongly over the forecast period, benefitting from key market drivers such as increasing urbanisation, population growth, an expanding health insurance market and massive healthcare developments. The country has so far largely defied the slump in global energy prices, and will continue to record stronger economic growth than the rest of the region over the coming years, benefitting medical device consumption.

Headline Industry Forecasts

  • We anticipate that the medical device market will register a strong 2014-2019 CAGR of 12.7% in local currency and US dollar terms, ranging from 9.6% for consumables to 17.9% for orthopaedics & prosthetics...

Qatar Oil & Gas

BMI View:

BMI View: The moratorium on upstream gas projects will limit the overall level of activity in the coming quarters, while work on a small number of enhanced oil recovery and redevelopment projects continues. We expect the fall in crude production to continue, with downside risk to steeper decline rates if enhanced recovery programmes are scaled back due to capex cuts. Qatar's dominance of the liquefied natural gas export market will increasingly be challenged by other producers, but efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas will soften the impact.

Headline Forecasts (Qatar 2013-2019)
2013 ...

Qatar Petrochemicals

BMI View:

BMI View: The performance of Qatar's petrochemicals industry picked up in Q216 on the back of rising polyethylene export volumes, improved prices and a rise in the ethane-naphtha spread. However, this should not be seen as indicative of a trend as risks are posed by the expected slump in Chinese and European imports. Some segments, particularly fertiliser, are also seeing value decline even though Qatar has increased fertiliser export volumes. Based on our core scenario, we do not envisage a revival of the various plans for new world-scale plants that have been shelved in recent years.

Trends in the Asian market are of significance to the industry, as China and India represent the first and second largest export markets for...

Qatar Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: Healthcare infrastructure expansion will continue to support rising demand for medical treatment in Qatar over the next 10 years. However, as the recent era of lower oil prices continues to weigh on government revenues, a slowdown in public investment in healthcare capital projects will moderate the pace of sector development. Although we do not expect significant cuts on social spending, the Qatari government will continue to rationalise spending over the coming years, which will translate in the implementation of mandatory health insurance in 2017, as well as pharmaceutical pricing pressure reflecting GCC price harmonisation efforts.


Qatar Power

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar's power industry remains the focus of significant government investment as the country expands capacity in order to keep up with rising domestic demand and embarks on grid modernisation and expansion programmes. Thermal power, specifically natural-gas fired power is the primary energy source in Qatar, supported by the country's natural gas reserves and well developed power plant infrastructure. Non-hydropower renewables are largely underdeveloped, though we are now seeing growing interest in the development of solar power (which offers enormous potential in Qatar) as the country begins to work towards renewable energy targets.

Headline Power Forecasts (Qatar 2015-2021)

Qatar Real Estate

BMI View:

BMI View: We have a stable outlook for Qatar's economy in the medium term, reflecting the countries resilience to the collapse in oil prices over 2015. Rising consumer confidence and spending, alongside greater governmental investment, will present opportunities in the retail and office sub-sectors in 2016 and 2017, supported by improvements to infrastructure that will benefit the broader real estate market.

Qatar is an exporter of petroleum and LNG, which accounts for 70% of government revenues, 60% of GDP and around 85% of exports. The dramatic fall in oil prices to under USD30.0 per barrel, a 12-year low, detrimentally affected Qatar, with GDP per capita contracting by 14.6% in 2015 in US dollar terms. We have downgraded our forecast of average annual GDP growth between 2016 and 2020 from 5.8% to 5.2%, highlighting the need for greater economic diversification.


Qatar Retail

BMI View:

BMI View: Four new shopping centres in Q416 and H117 will see increased spending from both wealthy expats and Qataris, as the capital Doha seeks to usurp Dubai's seat of regional dominance in retail infrastructure and supply. Household spending will increase by 8.2% in 2017, up from a forecast 6.8% in 2016. The stabilisation of the international hydrocarbons markets has made the rapid expansion of Qatar's retail sector a much less risky opportunity than in previous quarters.

Headline Household Spending

Qatar Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: Qatar's mobile market is growing robustly in subscription terms, but price competition is eroding core service revenues and profit margins. Growth is linked to expansion of the migrant workforce, but this will slow significantly in the medium term. The market benefits from a wealthy population and there is untapped demand for advanced data services, particularly among businesses. Growing interest in video content is also evident, boding well for service diversification strategies.

3G/4G Upgrades To Support Long-Term Growth
Qatar Mobile Market Forecasts

Qatar Tourism

BMI View:

BMI View: Tourism is a key growth area for the Qatari government and the country is seeing extensive investment in transport and accommodation infrastructure, both as a run up to hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup and as part of the wider tourism growth strategy. We expect to see continued growth in international arrivals over the course of our current forecast period through to 2020, though Qatar's tourism market will continue to lag behind that of other destinations in the region, including the leading United Arab Emirates. There are some considerable headwinds to growth, including regional security concerns and, on for investors, allegations of corruption.

Key Forecasts (Qatar 2013-2020)

Qatar Water

BMI View:

BMI View:  This quarter we have expanded and revised our forecasts to include water extraction by source, mains and household consumption, losses and treated wastewater. Overall, although we see Qatar as one of the most active water infrastructure sectors due to the extensive investment being undertaken in the run up to the 2022 FIFA event, we continue to view the overall water and sanitation services as underdeveloped, particularly the latter, due to the lack of adequate sewage networks and treatment facilities. 

Qatar is one of the largest per capita water consumers in the world, with consumption levels quadruple that of the average European consumer. In order to cater to the vast consumption levels and limited freshwater reserves, the country is focusing on a massive reservoir-...

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