Qatar is set for budget surplus despite oil dip…

Qatar may well end the financial year on a budget surplus despite the slump in global oil price by about 25% since June due to a glut in the market, weaker demand and a gloomy global growth outlook.

Qatar has already earned an average $104.8 a barrel in the first six months of the current fiscal up to September, against the conservative oil price assumption of $65/b in the budget for 2014-15, official data show.

And the Qatari crude fetched $105.59 a barrel as average price from January to September.

Qatar’s crude has been classified as Dukhan and Marine and the average of the two makes up the price.

The average price earned by Qatari crude in April was $106.03/b ($106.85 Dukhan and $105.2 Marine), $107.25 (May – $108.05 Dukhan and $106.45 Marine), $109.75 (June – $110.65 Dukhan and $108.85 Marine), $107.54 (July – $108.45 Dukhan and $106.62 Marine), $102.45 (August – $103.2 Dukhan and $101.7 Marine) and $95.95 (September- $96.95 Dukhan and $94.95 Marine).

Even at the conservative oil price assumption of $65 a barrel, Qatar had projected a budget surplus of QR7.3bn in the current financial year.

“With Qatari crude earning close to $105 a barrel in the first six months of this financial year, the surplus could be much higher,” an official source told Gulf Times.

At $107 a barrel, Saudi-based Samba Financial Group estimated that Qatar’s budget surplus might exceed $24bn, or 11.2% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), in 2014-15.

But this estimate looks a “bit ambitious” now given the oil price has fallen drastically since the Samba report in August.

According to the official source, Qatari crude price declined year-on-year (y-o-y) only twice between 2005 and 2013.  And that was in 2009 (-34.7%) and 2013 (-2.8%).

In both the years, the Opec’s Basket, West Texas Intermediate and Brent prices too declined year-on-year.

The average price Qatari crude earned between 2005 and 2013 was; $51.69 a barrel (2005), $62.93 (2006), $70.02 (2007), $95.14 (2008), $62.09 (2009), $77.83 (2010), $108.6 (2011), $111.23 (2012) and $108.13 (2013).

The Opec’s basket price between 2005 and 2013 was; $50.64 (2005), $61.08 (2006), $69.1 (2007), $94.45 (2008), $61.06 (2009), $77.45 (2010), $107.46 (2011), $109.45 (2012) and $105.89 (2013).

A recent Reuters dispatch showed Qatar’s budget surplus in the first quarter of this financial year (April-June) at QR79bn compared with a deficit of QR24.4bn a year earlier.

Citing the Qatar Central bank data, the agency said the surplus was equivalent to 41.7% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Revenue surged to QR117.8bn in the first quarter, nearly the same amount as the state collected in the whole first half of last year, from a mere QR17.1bn a year ago, it said. Source: Gulf Times