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: Qatar's tightly regulated labour market, which offers a small domestic workforce lacking in highly-skilled workers, poses numerous risks to investors. Despite almost total urbanisation, widespread literacy and high levels of employment, the size of the local labour force is constrained, leaving investors reliant on expatriates, particularly for technical positions or low-skilled work. However, stringent regulations surrounding the employment of foreign workers impede this process by adding layers of bureaucracy and high costs. In addition, the large migrant worker population does not constitute an accessible labour force due to the controversial sponsorship system. On the positive side, low labour costs are an advantage for investors employing a...

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Qatar Crime & Security

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Qatar's crime and security environment is one of the most conducive to the secure and safe operation of a business in the region. With relatively low crime rates and an excellent police force, businesses can be assured of Western standards of crime prevention, mitigating costs for additional security measures. Simultaneously, although the region is notoriously unstable, Qatar is relatively free of terrorism and enjoys reasonably strong relationships with others in the region. It also has robust security forces and a well-equipped military to ensure the protection of its people. 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 76.7 out of 100.

Qatar benefits from one of the most stable and secure...

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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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Qatari new vehicle sales continue to power ahead, in line with BMI's expectations. Over 5M15 a total of 46,565 private vehicles were 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.

Breaking down the headline figure, there were 42,652 passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) sold over the January-May period, up by 9.09%. However, there was much stronger growth seen from the heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) segment, whose sales increased by 35.63%, to 3,913 units. This outperformance by the HCV segment comes as little surprise to BMI, given the strong demand for HCVs and construction equipment resulting from Qatar's extensive pipeline of new infrastructure projects, including the stadia and transport...

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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: We continue to forecast the strongest construction industry real growth in the GCC for Qatar, with average annual real growth up to 2022 at 10.4%. The 2022 FIFA World Cup is a catalyst for growth, but Qatar's need to diversify its economy will mean the majority of major infrastructure projects would be needed, even with the event. The industry is navigating capacity constraints seemingly well, although we still believe wage and material price pressures will be a drag.

Qatar is the fastest...

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Insurance

Qatar Insurance

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BMI View: The strong growth in premiums reported by the leading Qatari insurance companies in relation to Q115 confirms our view that Qatar's insurance sector should be one of the fastest growing of any that we monitor - both in 2015 and through the forecast period as a whole. We think that the motor vehicle insurance sub-sector will be boosted by substantially higher volumes and higher prices through the three years to the end of 2017. Prices and volumes should rise also for the transport insurance sub-sector. The general growth of the economy - and the massive investment in infrastructure in particular - augurs well for volumes in the property insurance sub-sector. However, we expect property insurance prices to fall. The movement towards compulsory medical insurance for expatriate workers is a...

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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 gas-to-liquids...

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Petrochemicals

Qatar Petrochemicals

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BMI View: Qatari petrochemicals production is threatened by reduced demand growth in key export markets and the surge in output from competitors in the Middle East, namely Iran and Saudi Arabia. While a modest recovery in naphtha prices has given a temporary reprieve for the country's ethane-fed petrochemicals industry, it is insufficient to prompt any revision to capacity forecasts.

A fall in naphtha price will enable Qatar's petrochemicals industry some room for reducing product prices at a time of rising supply and diminishing Asian demand growth. However, the country's drive towards diversification with a mixed feed petrochemicals complex has received setbacks in recent months with the cancellation of major projects. Current circumstances do not support a revival of shelved plans or any further capacity expansion beyond...

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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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BMI View: Qatar's shipping sector is 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). At the same time, the country is also aiming to boost its container and dry bulk shipping presence through the development of the New Doha Port (Hamad Port), which is being built to capture some of the lucrative transhipment trade. Furthermore, Qatar is making its presence felt in foreign ports sector 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...

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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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BMI View: With strong governmental support, excellent infrastructure and an expanding hotel base, Qatar is set for five years of tourism growth. Inbound arrivals are set to increase as the country expands its leisure tourism industry, and major international sporting events is spurring investment into the hotel industry. As the economy remains strong, outbound departures are also set to increase significantly over the forecast period.

Qatar has succeeded in boosting its tourism significantly following the financial downturn in 2008. The industry has been targeted as an area for significant expansion by the government, who are looking to diversify the economy away from relying on natural resources. Currently the industry is focused on Doha, but with the development of the internal transport infrastructure and the upcoming showcases of international sporting events, there is...

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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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