Qatar Chamber’s monthly economic newsletter for May highlighted the most prominent trends in the Qatari economy, as well as statistics related to foreign trade and trade of the private sector in March 2021, according to certificates of origin issued by the chamber.

The newsletter, prepared by the Research and Studies Department at Qatar Chamber, highlighted a report about exports of the private sector in March and during the first quarter of 2021.

Data of the state’s foreign trade and private sector exports, whether on a monthly or quarterly basis, showed promising results, indicating that the Qatari economy has witnessed a remarkable recovery from the negative impacts of COVID-19.

Qatar Chamber Report private sector exports

In April 2020, private sector exports reached QAR572 million, showing a decrease of 61%, compared to QAR1,943 billion in March 2020. This means that the activity – according to this indicator – has lost about two-thirds of its value within one month.

However, the state’s intervention programme to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the economy through direct and indirect support matched with measures to combat and contain it has led to a gradual recovery for the economy.

In March 2021, the economic status reached its pre-pandemic levels, as the private sector exports exceeded QAR1,938 billion.

The newsletter also referred to the state’s foreign trade which saw a considerable growth of 61% in March 2021, amounting to QAR31 billion compared to April 2020.

Foreign Trade

According to the figures given by the Planning and Statistics Authority for March 2021, the total value of foreign merchandise trade amounted to QAR31 billion, showing an increase of 10.7% compared to QAR28 billion in February 2021.

Qatar Chamber report foreign tradeIn March 2021, the total exports of goods (including exports of goods of domestic origin and re-exports) amounted to around QAR22.1 billion, showing an increase of 7.3% compared to QAR20.6 billion in February.

The imports of goods in March 2021 amounted to around QAR8.9 billion, an increase of 20.3% compared to QAR7.4 billion in February.

Therefore, the country’s foreign merchandise trade balance, which represents the difference between total exports and imports, showed a surplus of QAR13.2 billion.

In March 2021, China was at the top of the countries of destination of Qatar’s foreign trade with about QAR3.9 billion, a share of 12.5% of the state’s total foreign trade.

Private Sector Exports

The volume of the private sector exports in March 2021 reached QAR1,938.4 billion, showing a month-on-month increase of 17.9% compared to QAR1,644.5 billion in February; while on a year-on-year basis, it decreased by 0.3% compared to QAR1,954 billion in March 2020.

Qatar Chamber Report private sector exports 2This increase demonstrated Qatar’s ability and the country’s economy in general, to overcome the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it returns to pre-pandemic levels.

In March, private sector exports grew by 238% compared to April 2020, while it decreased by 0.7% compared to February 2020, the highest month during this period.

Certificates of Origin

The increase in private sector exports in March compared to February 2021 is attributed to the increase of exports through most of all certificate models except for exports through the General Model certificate which decreased by 6.9% compared to February.

Exports through a Unified GCC model, GCC to Singapore and Unified Arab model increased on a month-on-month basis by 105.6%, 62.3% and 31.7%, respectively.

Type of Commodities

In March 2021, the private sector’s exports of essential and industrial oils topped the list of exports which increased by 92% compared to February, followed by lutreine which increased by 25.9%, chemical substances with a 13.2% increase and industrial gases exports which grew by 5.5%.

Exports of these commodities decreased: chemical fertilizers (100%), petrochemicals (76.7%), paraffin (49.5%), steel (39.5%), and aluminium (4.7%).

Private Sector Partners

As for economic blocs and groupings, Asian countries were at the top of economic blocs that received exports from the private sector, amounting to QAR815 million, with a share of 42% of the total value, followed by GCC states with a share of 37.7% with exports of QAR730 million.

In third place came the group of EU states, with exports totalling QAR280 million, representing 14.4% of the total value, followed by Arab countries excluding GCC states that received QAR79 million, a share of 4.1%.

The group of African Countries (excluding Arab countries) came in fifth place with exports amounting to QAR13 million, a share of 1%, followed by the USA with exports amounting to QAR20 million, a share of 0.7%. Other European countries received exports of QAR0.8 million or a share of 0.04%.

In March 2021, Oman was at the top of the countries of destination for private sector exports, with close to QAR582 million, a share of 30% of the total exports. It was followed by India with almost QAR321 million and a share of 16.5%; and Hong Kong with about QAR233 million, a share of 12%.

Netherlands came in fourth place with almost QAR180 million, a share of 9.3% and Turkey with exports amounting to about QAR152 million, a share of 7.8%.

The value of private sector exports to these countries represented 75.7% of the total value of exports during the same month.

Private Sector Exports in Q1

The total volume of private sector exports during the first quarter of 2021 (from January to March) reached QAR5.08 billion, showing a decrease of 12% compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Exports through all forms of certificates of origin increased in varying percentages except for exports through the GSP model which decreased by 84%.

Exports through the Arab countries model increased by 114%, followed by the Singapore model which increased by 783%, the GCC model which increased by 36% and the General Model which increased by 7%.

Six commodities also increased in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.

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