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.

Country Risk

Qatar Country Risk

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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 Qatari economy will continue to expand at a rapid pace over the next few years, supported by accommodative fiscal policy - notably infrastructure spending - and strong population increases. The non-hydrocarbons economy will propel growth, with construction activity and the services sector set to remain the dominant performers.

  • We...

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Qatar Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Qatar Operational Risk

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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...

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Qatar Crime & Security

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BMI View : Qatar's safety and stability in contrast to other MENA countries makes it an attractive location for investment. There is a low impact from crime and terrorism on businesses in Qatar, and the military support the country enjoys from the US guarantees an extra dimension of security against external threats. The only risks stem from the international tensions surrounding Qatar's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, which have set it at odds with some fellow member states...

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Qatar Labour Market

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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...

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Qatar Logistics

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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...

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Qatar Trade & Investment

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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...

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Qatar Industry Coverage (19)

Autos

Qatar Autos

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In 2014, there were a total of 101,982 private vehicles registered in Qatar, according to BMI calculations based on figures from Qatar's Monthly Statistics book, prepared by Qatar's Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. This represented an annual increase of 8.7%, slightly ahead of BMI's predictions of just over 6% growth.

Looking forward, we continue to believe that the scene is set for good sales growth across both 2015 and 2016, with domestic demand and construction activity remaining underpinned by the government's heavy public investment programme. Although growth may then slow towards the end of our forecast period in 2019, we are still anticipating a robust 41% growth for auto sales over the 2015-19 period, taking total new vehicle sales to around the 143,774 unit mark.

With Qatar's hosting of the FIFA 2022 World...

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Commercial Banking

Qatar Commercial Banking

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

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Consumer Electronics

Qatar Consumer Electronics

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BMI View: Our positive outlook for Qatar's consumer electronics market is underpinned by high consumer spending power, rapid population growth from the influx of migrant workers and the government's continued commitment to investment in the ICT sector, as part of its goal to reduce the country's dependence on hydrocarbons. Qatar's wealthy consumers will drive value growth in the consumer electronics market through take-up of high-end smartphones, tablets and TVs. Mobile operators Ooredoo and Vodafone will contribute to this trend, as they encourage subscribers to migrate to...

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Food & Drink

Qatar Food & Drink

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BMI View: Qatar's economic prospects remain the most positive in the region. We forecast real GDP growth of 6.6% in 2015 and 6.1% in 2016, up from 5.7% in 2014. The non-hydrocarbons economy will propel growth, with construction activity and the services sector set to remain the dominant performers. On the consumer side, the outlook for food and drink companies remains strong on the back of forecast real private consumption growth of 9.5% in 2015.

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%

  • ...

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Freight Transport

Qatar Freight Transport

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The Qatari shipping sector continues to be dominated by the export of the country's key commodity, natural gas, through the export terminal of Ras Laffan. Much of this is transported by national carrier Nakilat. However, the country aims to increase its container and dry bulk shipping presence as well through the development of the New Doha port, which is being developed to focus on capturing some lucrative transhipment trade.

The country is not only investing in its ports. There are also significant developments in road and rail, not least the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail network and the causeway that will link Qatar with Bahrain. We forecast moderate growth in trade and port throughput in Qatar over the medium term. Air freight is also taking off, supported by the growth of Qatar Airways Cargo and a new terminal.

Headline Industry Data...

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Information Technology

Qatar Information Technology

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BMI View: We maintain a bullish outlook for IT sector growth 2015-2019, and maintain our view that Qatar's high private consumption levels and bright economic growth outlook will combine to make the market a regional outperformer. Although Qatar's small population prevents it from becoming a major IT hub in the MENA region, the ICT sector has been a key beneficiary of the government's drive to diversify the economy away from the hydrocarbons, notably through its e-Government 2020 Strategy and strong support for the development of smart...

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Infrastructure

Qatar Infrastructure

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BMI View: With full-year 2014 real growth standing at 18% our bullish growth forecasts for Qatar's construction sector are on track. BMI's 10-year forecasts are for an annual average real growth rate of 10.2% in Qatar's construction industry, although we note that growth will be elevated in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA world cup, averaging 11.4% between 2015 and 2022. The industry is navigating capacity constraints seemingly well, although we still believe price pressures will be felt over the medium term.

Qatar is the fastest growing construction and infrastructure market in the GCC and remains one...

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Insurance

Qatar Insurance

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BMI View: The Qatari insurance market is starting to realise its vast potential in a country with the highest level of GDP per capita in the World. With penetration currently lower than in the majority of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) States, insurers are starting to take advantage of opportunities for growth outside of the core and relatively saturated household property and motor insurance markets. In particular, we see huge growth potential for coverage of the country's rapidly expanding construction and engineering industries as the country invests in new infrastructure in time for the 2022 football World Cup. So far more than USD100bn is reported to have been sidelined for new infrastructure projects, which should filter through into demand for transport and casualty insurance, to name but a few of the potential growth spots.

In 2015 we nevertheless expect personal insurance...

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Medical Devices

Qatar Medical Devices

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BMI Industry View: Qatar is a small but rich country with an increasingly attractive medical device market in spite of its limited population size. Per capita expenditure is high, ranking second in the Middle East & Africa. The healthcare sector is being extended and reformed, as part of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 2011-2016. Lower...

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Oil & Gas

Qatar Oil & Gas

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BMI View: Fuelled by the world's third largest proven conventional gas reserves, Qatar has positioned itself as the leading global exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Rising competition, led by liquefaction growth in Australia and potentially the US and East Africa, will pose a challenge to Qatar's hold on the global gas market later in the decade. Qatar is responding by making increasing efforts to diversify its economy through expanding its downstream and petrochemical sectors. The country is growing the international presence of Qatar Petroleum International to offset slowing growth in domestic oil and gas projects, given the absence of plans for an expansion of LNG and GTL export capacity. ...

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Petrochemicals

Qatar Petrochemicals

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BMI View: The competitiveness of Qatar's petrochemicals industry is being put under increasing pressure from the widening of the ethane-naphtha feedstock price differential. The prospect of a lifting of sanctions on Iran further poses threats to Qatar's petrochemicals industry.

Rising ethane feedstock costs at a time when the price of alternative feedstock naphtha is at record lows mean that Qatar's petrochemicals industry faces increased competition, with naphtha being used by Qatar's competitors. The declining competitiveness has a deleterious impact on the country's efforts to expand the petrochemicals industry. Indeed, declining naphtha costs are behind the cancellations of the Al Sejeel and the Al Karaana petrochemicals projects; and as a result of these cancellations, we have...

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Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Qatar Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

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BMI View: Qatar's Annual Health Report for 2014 confirms our view that the healthcare sector will experience strong growth over our forecast period. Sizeable expansion projects are underway, health insurance coverage is increasing and government spending will remain elevated given the substantial reserves. Growing private sector engagement will also drive healthcare market growth.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: QAR1.90bn (USD521mn) in 2014 to QAR2.12bn (USD581mn) in 2015; +11.5% in local currency and US dollar terms. Forecast unchanged from Q215.

  • Healthcare: QAR17.48bn (USD4.80bn) in 2014 to QAR19.10bn (USD5.25bn) in...

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Power

Qatar Power

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BMI View: The Qatari power sector is set for strong growth over the coming decade as the government continues to spend heavily on new infrastructure projects, while domestic energy consumption continues to grow. Despite the recent dip in international oil prices, which has curtailed the country's willingness to invest, spending on power infrastructure is likely to remain relatively high for the foreseeable future, particularly as the emirate invests in infrastructure in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 2022. With the economy in good shape, and ...

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Real Estate

Qatar Real Estate

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BMI View:  The real estate market in Qatar continues to prosper with the massive growth occurring in the tail end of 2014. As we look into 2015 our positive outlook for the economy over 2015 supports our view that investment will remain strong in the real estate sect, which should only increase in the longer term as the country a boost in real estate expenditure as it prepares for the world cup in 2022.

While Qatar's real estate sectors falls in the shadow of some its more prosperous neighbours such as UAE, developments such as the 2020 world cup and 2030 vision programme auger well for the real estate market in Qatar. For the most part commercial real estate in Qatar relate to its main cities Al Khor Al Wakra and Doha, however there has been significant plans from the Qatar government to improve real estate in other areas of...

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Retail

Qatar Retail

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BMI View: Qatar's retail market is developing rapidly, attracting a range of global retailers which frequently partner with local developers to establish themselves in the country. Qatar boasts some of the highest household income rates in the world and enjoys a high level of disposable income which increases demand for a range of non-essential items. Along with the rapid expansion of retail infrastructure, this helps to make the country an attractive investment destination in the competitive Middle East region.

Despite the fall in global oil prices, Qatar's economic outlook is strong with healthy GDP growth expected to be maintained over the short-to-medium term. Private consumption is showing even stronger growth and is being supported by an expansion of credit availability, which increases the ability of consumers to purchase big-ticket items. Qatar has been investing heavily...

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Shipping

Qatar Shipping

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Qatar's shipping sector continues to be dominated by the export of the country's key commodity, natural gas, through the export terminal of Ras Laffan. Much of this is carried by national carrier Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat). However, the country is also looking to increase its container and dry bulk shipping presence through the development of the New Doha Port (Hamad Port), which is being built with an eye to capturing some lucrative transhipment trade. Furthermore, Qatar is making its presence felt in foreign ports sectors and is investing in developing facilities in Egypt.

Headline Industry Data

  • 2015 port of Doha tonnage throughput forecast to grow 36%, over the medium term we project a 214% increase (including transferred operations to Hamad Port from 2016).

  • 2015 port of Doha container throughput forecast to grow 16%, over the...

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Telecommunications

Qatar Telecommunications

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BMI View : Despite Qatar's small population and one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the region, there remain considerable subscriptions and revenue growth opportunities for the country's two telecoms operators, Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar. On one hand, the influx of migrant workers to support the construction boom will sustain subscriptions growth, while on the other, high spending power among Qataris will underpin strong demand for 4G and converged wireline telecoms services. Competition between the two operators for these high value segments of the market will drive network expansion and the development of new data-focused...

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Tourism

Qatar Tourism

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The Qatari tourism sector is expected to see significant growth over the forecast period, especially for inbound tourism. Currently, the vast majority of hotels, almost exclusively situated in the capital city, Doha, are high-end establishments aimed at the luxury travel market. As the country prepares for the staging of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, we expect much more affordable mid-range accommodation to be developed, which in turn will increase the overall value of the hotel industry.

Most of the inbound tourism to Qatar comes from the surrounding Middle Eastern countries. This is due to their close geographical proximity and the strong road and air links. This dynamic is expected to continue throughout the forecast period. Overall, inbound tourism is set to increase steadily up to 2019, but this growth will be considerably slower than that of arrivals from the Middle East. The Qatari authorities are keen to promote green tourism in a bid...

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Water

Qatar Water

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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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