Our comprehensive assessment of Qatar's operating environment and the outlook for its leading sectors are formed by bringing together a wealth of data on global markets that affect Qatar, as well as the latest industry developments that could impact Qatar's industries. This unique integrated approach has given us an impeccable track-record for predicting important shifts in the markets, ensuring you’re aware of the latest market opportunities and risks in Qatar before your competitors.

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 retain our...

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Qatar Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Qatar Operational Risk

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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 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 Availability of Labour. Moreover, the majority of the workforce has...

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Qatar Crime & Security

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BMI View : Qatar's safety and stability in contrast to other Middle Eastern countries make it an attractive location for investment. The country is an outperformer in the Middle East in terms of its overall Crime & Security Risk rating, with a score of 67. 8 out of 100 and a regional ranking of second. Oman, the regional leader sits on a score of 74.2 out of 100, while Kuwait, in third position, gives away a full 17. 8 points to Qatar.   This high score is based on the low impact from crime and terrorism on businesses in Qatar, and the military support it enjoys from the US ....

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Qatar Labour Market

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BMI View:   BMI considers Qatar's labour market to be somewhat 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 MENA region in the BMI Labour Market Risks Index, scoring 59.3 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 Availability of Labour. Moreover, 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...

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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,...

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Qatar Industry Coverage (18)

Autos

Qatar Autos

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BMI View: This quarter, we maintain our forecast for nearly 100% growth in new vehicle sales over the 2015-2018 period, to reach more than 200,000 units sold.  Our positive outlook on the Qatari market continues to be based on rising government expenditure, a growing population and increased spending on construction ahead of Qatar's hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatari new vehicle sales increased 12% year-on-year (y-o-y) over H114, to 47,461 units, according to data from industry sources. Against this positive sales performance, BMI maintains its forecast of 14.8% growth in new vehicle sales for the year as a whole.

There remain...

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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 bullish growth outlook for Qatar's consumer electronics market is supported by consumers' very high spending power , which creates a healt hy appetite for top end smartphones, PCs and TV sets. The country is also set to experience strong population growth on the back of an influx of migrant workers engaged in the construction and hospitality sectors , which will contribute to increasing sales in volume terms . Meanwhile, Qatar's government remains committed to its goal of diversifying...

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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 5.7% for 2014, accelerating to 6.6% in 2015 as the new Barzan gas development comes on-stream. On the consumer side, the outlook for food and drink companies remains really strong on the back of forecast real private consumption growth of 13.0% in 2014 and 10.0% in 2015, compared to an annual average of 6.2% between 2009 and 2012.

Headline Industry Data (local currency)

  • 2014 food consumption growth = +5.7%; compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2014 to 2018 = +4.3%.

  • 2014 bottled water value = +13.5%; CAGR 2014 to 2018 = +9.6%

  • 2014 mass grocery retail sales = +7.2%; CAGR  2014 to 2018 = +5.4%

...

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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:   Although Qatar's small population limits growth opportunities in the IT market, it is nevertheless supported by high private consumption levels and strong government support for the ICT sector. ICT has been a major beneficiary of government policies to diversify Qatar's economy away from hydrocarbons, notably through ictQATAR's ICT-2015 strategy and the government's push to build smart cities. These government initiatives have led to ambitious investments in network infrastructure which will encourage broader take-up of IT services as well as development of innovative IT systems. However , we note that increased diplomatic tensions between Qatar and other GCC member states pose downside risk to our economic outlook for the country, which could in turn curtail the...

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Infrastructure

Qatar Infrastructure

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BMI View: There is substantial momentum i n the Qatari construction industry , which has raised the prospect of an upwards revision to our 2014 forecast, currently 11.8% year-on-year. The numerous large scale infrastructure projects entering construction over 2014, such as the Doha Metro and further elements of Doha's new port, will keep growth rates elevated this year . However, with these projects entering the construction phase, the capacity constraints in the industry will be felt even more sharply and drag on growth over the medium term , although efforts to realise projects by the 2022 FIFA World Cup will see growth pick up towards the...

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Insurance

Qatar Insurance

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As of late 2013, Qatar's insurance sector appears to be living up to its promise. The combination of strong economic growth and an official desire to promote financial services through the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has provided a positive environment in which premiums have surged strongly over the last year or so.

Total Premiums 2010-2017
2010 2011 2012 2013e 2014f 2015f ...

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Medical Devices

Qatar Medical Devices

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Espicom Industry View:   The small but rich Qatar has a medical device market res tricted by its population size , but p er capita expenditure is high,   ranking second in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region. The healthcare sector is being extended and reformed, as part of the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 and the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-201 6 . As a result, opportunities exist for medical device multinationals in the coming years, as Qatar aims to provide universal healthcare...

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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 slow ing growth in domestic oil and gas projects , given the absence of plans for an expansion of LNG and GTL...

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Petrochemicals

Qatar Petrochemicals

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BMI's latest Qatar Petrochemicals Report examines the rising role of fertiliser in the sector, its prospects for growth and anticipated risks. Qatar is aiming to become one of the world leaders in chemical fertiliser production, but it faces rising feedstock costs and over-supply on the Asian market that threaten to undermine its plans.

The Arabian Gulf region hosts the fastest growing fertiliser industry in the world with the rate of output growth twice the global average. According to the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the GCC's fertiliser production capacity reached 42.7mn tpa in 2013, a 4% increase from the previous year, while the global fertiliser industry grew by just 1.7% in the same period. Capacity growth was achieved with world-scale projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE coming on-stream. Further projects are expected as the region capitalises on its competitively priced...

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Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Qatar Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

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BMI View:   The reduction of a large number of medicine prices in Qatar is likely to be detrimental to pharmaceutical companies' revenue potential. New drug pricing - which was previously very high in the country - will increase the volume of sales, as medicines will become more affordable, partially counteracting losses from price reduction. Economic and political stability, in addition to projected growth in the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets, will ensure that Qatar remains a small but attractive market.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: QAR1.63bn (USD449mn) in 2013 to QAR1.84bn (USD504mn) in 2014; +12.4% in local currency and 12.4% in US dollar terms. Forecast slightly higher than in Q314.

  • ...

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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 . With no sign of a let-up in government spending on the horizon, particularly as the emirate gears up for the FIFA World Cup in 2022, and the economy in good shape, demand for power is likely to continue rising over the next few years, leaving the electricity sector in good stead.  

The outlook for the domestic power sector in Qatar remains bright. Government plans to build a huge USD3bn power plant, known as Ras Laffan D, coupled with the recent announcement of USD2.1bn in...

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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...

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Shipping

Qatar Shipping

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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 carried by national carrier Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat). However, the country is looking to increase its container and dry bulk shipping presence as well, through the development of the New Doha Port, which is being developed with an eye towards capturing some lucrative transhipment trade. Further, Qatar is making its presence felt in foreign ports sectors and is investing in developing facilities in Egypt.

  • 2014 Port of Doha container throughput forecast to grow 5.4%, and to average 10.1% per annum to 2018 (including transferred operations to New Doha from 2016).

  • 2014 Port of Doha total tonnage throughput forecast to expand by 30.2% to 1.11mn tonnes, and to average 26.9% per annum over our forecast period...

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Telecommunications

Qatar Telecommunications

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BMI View :  Qatar's two telecoms service providers,  Ooredoo  and Vodafone Qatar , will enjoy strong revenue and subscriptions growth in the country over the medium term. Despite the country's small population, a rapid influx of migrant workers to support Qatar's construction boom will support continued subscriptions growth, while strong consumer spending power and limited competition will ensure ARPUs remain high. Healthy consumer appetite for new technology will contribute to rising demand for 3G/4G and converged telecoms services throughout our forecast period to 2018 . Competition between the two operators for customers in these high value segments of the market will...

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Tourism

Qatar Tourism

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BMI View: Qatar remains one of the tourist hot spot regions within the Middle East, as the authorities seek to diversity and enhance the range of tourism facilities and activities as well as increasing hotel accommodation, which has supporting strong growth rates within the hotel sector. The country has sought to establish itself as a prominent destination for high end luxury retreats and business travel, eschewing the low to mid range of the tourism market.

Qatar's tourism sector recorded a record number of bookings in 2013, growing by around 8%, with 1.3 million visitors arriving indicating strong overall growth within the hospitality sector. Regional visitors increased by 14.4%, with large volumes of arrivals from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. International arrivals grew at a robust but slightly slower rate of 9%, with a 14% increase in business arrivals from Asia. The country has set...

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Water

Qatar Water

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BMI View: New power plants, desalination plants and reservoirs have all entered operation over the past few years, however, between now and the FIFA 2022 World Cup, billions of dollars of investment is still to be invested into boosting Qatar's water infrastructure. However , with a limited number of major projects in the pipeline, we highlight that over the longer term growth will moderate.

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-development project. At present five reservoirs are under construction or in the tendering process and more are in the pipeline. Desalination facilities and wastewater treatment projects are...

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