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Coronavirus: Qatar’s economy shrinks 6.1 percent in Q2, hit by business closures

October 15 2020
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Qatar’s economy contracted by 6.1 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, government statistics showed on Wednesday, as the coronavirus outbreak closed businesses and reduced activity.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) also contracted by 6.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the first, based on constant prices, data from Qatar’s Planning and Statistics Authority showed.

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Transportation and storage slumped nearly 40 percent year-on-year, accommodation and food service activities fell 38.7 percent and wholesale and retail trade and vehicle repair dropped just over 30 percent. The manufacturing sector fell 11.3 percent, the data showed.

Qatar, the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas, is trying to diversify its economy by boosting tourism and foreign investment in non-hydrocarbon sectors.

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Its central bank said in August it expected the economy to contract this year amid low energy prices and the coronavirus crisis, after it shrank 0.3 percent last year, but did not give an estimate.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday revised down its forecast for Qatar’s real GDP in 2020, expecting it to shrink by 4.5 percent versus an April forecast of a 4.3 percent contraction.