Qatar ‘Very Comfortable’ With Current Oil Prices

Qatar ‘Very Comfortable’ With Current Oil PricesQatar ‘Very Comfortable’ With Current Oil Prices

Current oil prices are close to the level Qatar needs to finance spending, and the government has not made a decision on whether to sell debt, according to Finance Minister Ali al-Emadi.

“We feel very comfortable,” al-Emadi told reporters in Doha on Tuesday, adding that Qatar is spending about $500 million a week on capital projects. 

The economy will grow 3.4% to 3.5% in 2017, he said, Bloomberg reported.

Qatar posted its first budget deficit in 15 years in 2016 due to the slump in global energy prices, which came with the gas-rich Persian Gulf Arab state in the midst of spending $200 billion on preparations for the FIFA World Cup in 2022. 

Last year was “probably the most difficult” in terms of the strain on public finances, and the government has based the 2017 budget on a “conservative” global oil price of $45 a barrel, al-Emadi said. 

Brent crude was trading at $55 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by signs that oil producing nations are delivering on promised output reductions agreed last year. OPEC and some non-members such as Russia have pledged to cut global crude supplies by 1.8 million barrels per day to help prop up prices after more than two years of stagnation.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will remain actively globally, and will invest $35 billion in the US as planned, al-Emadi said. The government has awarded contracts for about 90% of projects related to the World Cup, he said.

“We’ve been very much active globally,” al-Emadi said. “Part of the sovereign wealth fund strategy is to have very much a diversified portfolio.”


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