Qatar’s budget surplus hit $5.4bn in Q1 exceeding expectations

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Qatar registered more than two-thirds of its expected 2023 budget surplus in the first three months of the year thanks to a large inflow of oil and gas revenues, the country’s Finance Ministry has revealed.

According to Qatar’s state news agency, the country’s trade balance was 19.7 billion Qatari riyals ($5.4 billion) in the black for the first quarter of the year, the equivalent of 68 percent of its anticipated budget surplus for 2023.

The figure reflects a 70 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, which saw a profit of 11.6 billion riyals.

The total revenues in the first three months of 2023 reached 68.6 billion riyals, of which 63.4 billion came from oil and gas revenues.

Non-oil revenues made up the remaining 5.2 billion riyals during the period.

According to previous expectations, the Gulf nation was anticipated to record a budget surplus of 29 billion riyals by the end of 2023.

Budget estimates were based on the oil prices of $65 per barrel, whereas the first quarter saw an average price of $82.2, leading to the higher revenue.

While issuing this year’s budget, Finance Minister Ali Al-Kuwari noted the surplus is expected to go toward repaying Qatar’s public debt, boosting central bank reserves, and increasing the capital of the state’s sovereign wealth fund.

In April 2023, Qatar recorded a trade surplus of 22 billion riyals, according to a report released by the country’s Planning and Statistics Authority in May.

The data reflected a 3.5 percent increase over March while a 35.6 percent decline on an annual basis.

The value of merchandise imports during April 2023 also fell 6.3 percent from the previous year and 9.3 percent from the last month to reach an estimated 8.7 billion riyals.

Meanwhile, the value of Qatar’s exports of oil, gas, and condensate tumbled in April to 18.6 billion riyals, reflecting a decrease of 33.2 percent on an annual basis.

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