ECO­NOMIC FORE­CAST

Qatar Today - - BUSINESS > BANK NOTES -

Qatar's gov­ern­ment ex­pects to run a bud­get deficit for at least three years as low nat­u­ral gas and oil prices weigh on its rev­enues, said the Min­istry of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning and Sta­tis­tics.

In a long-term re­port on the Qatari econ­omy, the min­istry fore­cast a fis­cal deficit of 7.8% of GDP this year, which would be the first deficit in 15 years and big­ger than the deficit of 4.8% pre­dicted for 2016 in the min­istry's last re­port pub­lished in De­cem­ber. The deficit is ex­pected to to­tal 7.9% of GDP next year be­fore shrink­ing to 4.2% in 2018, said the min­istry. The min­istry said the cen­tral bank might take sev­eral steps to re­duce pres­sure on liq­uid­ity in the Qatari bank­ing sys­tem. It could cut of­fi­cial in­ter­est rates, con­tinue to sus­pend do­mes­tic Trea­sury bond is­suance while re­sum­ing its sus­pen­sion of Trea­sury bill is­sues, or adopt un­con­ven­tional mea­sures used by cen­tral banks in other coun­tries such as di­rect pur­chases of com­mer­cial bonds and ex­tra­or­di­nary loans to, or eq­uity in­jec­tions in, in­di­vid­ual banks, said the min­istry with­out spec­i­fy­ing which steps were likely to be cho­sen.

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