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
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.
Despite tightening liquidity conditions and the government's shift to a more conservative fiscal stance, Qatar's economic growth trajectory remains positive. The bulk of the country's investment plans will continue, supporting infrastructure growth and the expansion of the services economy. We forecast real growth of 5.9% in 2016 and 5.5% in 2017 (...
Qatar Operational Risk Coverage (9)
Qatar Operational Risk
Qatar Operational Risk
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
Qatar Crime & Security
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
Qatar Labour Market
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...
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
Qatar Trade & Investment
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)
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|
Qatar Commercial Banking
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Qatar Consumer Electronics
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...
Food & Drink
Qatar Food & Drink
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: 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: We hold a positive outlook on the Qatari economy and the IT market as a whole despite the global oil slump that has lowered oil prices since 2014. IT market growth in Qatar will be maintained by large government programmes, modernisation efforts and public sector initiatives aimed at hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. This is all set against the backdrop of Qatar's high private consumption levels, which combines with the bright economic growth outlook to support our view of the market as a regional outperformer. Additionally,...
BMI View: Qatar is the fastest-growing construction and infrastructure market in the GCC and remains one of our favourite construction markets, buoyed by huge government investment, a stable business environment and growing consumer demand. 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.
Key Trends And Developments
Oil prices are a minimal downside risk to our forecast, given...
BMI View: Qatar's insurance sector will outperform the majority of Western markets over the next few years as a robust economy, high income levels and large scale public investment drive growth. Growth will be particularly intense over 2015-2017, due in large part to a surge in motor vehicle underwriting, before subsiding to a more moderate level towards the end of the forecast period. However, the dominance of domestic insurers and the absence of any life insurance market of note will continue to deter many of the larger multinational players.
Qatar Medical Devices
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...
Oil & Gas
Qatar Oil & Gas
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.
The competitiveness of Qatar's ethane-fed petrochemicals industry is being diminished by the sustained low cost of naphtha feedstock used by its competitors as well as over-supply in key export markets, which is driving down product prices. Having cancelled major petrochemicals projects, Qatar is now focused on expanding and diversifying its downstream portfolio in order to add value and support margins.
China and India represent the largest markets for Qatar's polyethylene output, but exports to these Asian economic powerhouses are under pressure and the country's petrochemicals industry needs to diversify if it is to defend its profit margins. The prospects for the industry will therefore be determined primarily by the trends in the volatile and uncertain European markets. BMI believes the upshot will...
Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
Qatar Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
BMI View: We remain positive in our outlook for Qatar's pharmaceutical and healthcare markets, in spite of lower oil prices. Government commitment to maintaining quality healthcare provision and the roll-out of health insurance will both drive expenditure growth.
Headline Expenditure Projections
Pharmaceuticals: QAR1.79bn (USD491mn) in 2014 to QAR2.00bn (USD548mn) in 2015; +11.5% in local currency and US dollar terms. Forecast unchanged from Q415.
Healthcare: QAR17.25bn (USD4.74bn) in 2014 to QAR18.86bn (USD5.18bn) in 2015; +9.3% in both local currency and US dollar terms. Forecast...
BMI View: Qatar's power sector is growing rapidly as new generation and capacity is brought online in order to keep up with ever-rising demand, driven by extensive public investment in new infrastructure projects and rapid population growth. The country benefits from enormous natural gas reserves which, as well as being a key export, provides the fuel for almost the entirety of the domestic energy mix. While we do expect to see some limited renewable energy capacity enter the mix from 2016 onwards, natural-gas will continue to constitute the lion's share of generation and as such will attract the bulk of both public and private investment over the forecast period.
Qatar Real Estate
BMI View: Buoyed by a strong economy, the outlook for Qatar's real estate sector is bright. The prospects for the retail sector in particular are positive, with rising incomes, affluence and spending supporting retailer demand for new space. New malls that are opening should provide retailers with high quality space and provide consumers with a more enjoyable and convenient shopping experience. The office sector too is likely to see further growth in the medium term and new buildings under construction should provide occupiers with Grade A space and command higher rents. Overall, we expect Infrastructure and construction projects in the run up to the FIFA World Cup in 2022 to benefit all three real estate sectors.
Qatar's economy is set to see strong growth in the medium term. An affluent population, rising...
BMI View: The recent global oil & gas volatility will have a significant impact on Qatar's economy and retail sector and major infrastructure projects like the FIFA world cup in 2022 will continue to provide a stable platform for economic growth over the next seven years. With increasing economic diversification driven by a growing population, strong and stable GDP growth and substantial per capita incomes, retailers will increasingly be attracted to the country and the retail market will expand.
Unlike Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the two most oil-dependent economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar has managed to at least partially diversify its economy in the past decade. Thanks to some immunity to the fluctuations of oil & gas prices and rollout of new strategic projects, the...
BMI View : We have made some positive upwards revisions to the Qatari mobile market forecast in our Q116 report update. The market performed well in 9M15, outperforming our initial forecasts. The growth has been propelled by infrastructure and economic development projects, the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup and the arrival of migrant families. Qatar benefits from a wealthy population which drives the demand for advanced data services, and a large migrant community which is a factor for growth. Operators have to cater to both segments, with the profitability coming from the former. High ARPU is underpinned by the uptake of LTE and fibre services in the country, as well as multiple-SIM ownership through multiple-device ownership (smartphone, tablet, dongle). This requires a high level of investment to meet demand and ensure a strong quality of service, especially on LTE networks. This gives the...
Qatar has a strong tourism industry, with a well-established hotel sector and healthy support from the government. Inbound tourist arrivals are set to see significant growth in the coming years , as the country continues to up its marketing efforts in key regions. The accommodation sector is strongly focused on high-end, luxury and business travel with a high percentage of all hotels situated in the capital city of Doha. Many of these hotels are four and five star and place their focus on conference facilities. This leaves opportunities for budget accommodation developments elsewhere, especially with plans for the transport infrastructure to undergo major developments over the next few years. With the Qatari government keen to support tourism projects and to expand travel links with more key destinations, Qatar offers good opportunities for investment in many areas of the tourism sector.
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-...