In a Qatar update of High Population Growth in January 2015, the country continued to experience high population growth with a large influx of expatriates: Qatar’s population grew by 10.3% year-on-year in January 2015 to reach 2.22m while the population grew by an estimated 10.1% in 2014, reflecting a large influx of expatriate workers filling the 120k new jobs being created in Qatar each year. This is feeding into higher economic growth by boosting aggregate demand and investment in housing and services.

Inflation remained moderate at 3.0% in 2014, thanks in part to lower international food prices. However the foreign merchandise trade surplus narrowed to QAR22.7bn in December 2014 on lower oil prices. The country’ international reserves fell slightly to USD43.2bn at end-December 2014; import cover stood at 8.1 months. Qatari oil prices continued to decline on weaker global demand while production rose in December 2014.

The GCC stock market had uneven results in January 2015. According to the Qatar National Bank (QNB Economics – Monthly monitor, 4 February, 2015) : “Saudi Arabia led the way followed by Oman. Saudi’s Tadawul All-Share TASI Index was the best performer during January, appreciating by 6.5% monthon-month. Oman’s MSM 30 Index also gained by 3.4% month-on-month. On the other hand, Qatar’s QSE Index shed 3.1% month-on-month followed by Dubai’s benchmark index (DFMGI) declining 2.6%. Qatar and UAE were the best performing markets in 2014, with Qatar appreciating 18.4% while Dubai jumped 12.0%.”