The total value of Qatar’s foreign merchandise trade in January 2021 stood at QR29.1bn, reflecting a 13.7% growth over QR25.6bn in December 2020, according to Qatar Chamber’s latest monthly economic newsletter.
The newsletter’s March 2020 issue cited figures from the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA) on the total value of Qatar’s foreign merchandise trade in January 2021, and the private sector’s exports based on certificates of origin issued by the chamber.
The newsletter, prepared by chamber’s Research & Studies Department, highlighted a report on activities held last year presented by Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani during the March 3 general assembly meeting.
The newsletter also said total exports of goods in January, including those of domestic origin and re-exports, amounted to around QR21.3bn or a 24.6% increase over QR17.7bn in December. Imports of goods during the same month stood at QR7.8bn, an 8.2% slump compared to QR8.5bn in December.
“Therefore, the country’s foreign merchandise trade balance, which represents the difference between total exports and imports, showed a surplus of QR13.5bn almost recording a 57% increase over QR8.6bn in December,” the newsletter stated.
In the newsletter, China was Qatar’s largest trade partner in January with trade exchange volume reaching close to QR5.7bn or a 19.6% share of Qatar’s total foreign trade.
Similarly, the private sector’s exports in January showed a significant month-on-month (m-o-m) increase of 12.5% from QR1.333bn in December 2020 to QR1.49bn in January 2021.
Growth in the private sector’s exports was attributed to a considerable increase of 20.1% in exports through the General Model Certificate, which increased by QR160mn.
Exports through Unified GCC to Singapore Model also recorded a sharp increase of 966% (from QR12mn to QR129mn), followed by exports through the Unified Arab Model, which increased by 15%, and exports through GSP Model Certificate showing a 7.1% increase, while exports through GCC Model Certificate was down by 32.9%.
The newsletter also noted that the surge in the private sector’s exports “emphasises the ability of private sector and the national economy to overcome the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and rebound to pre-pandemic levels.”
In January, private sector exports recorded the highest value during the past nine months of 2020 with a 162% growth compared to April of the same year, which was the lowest value due to pandemic-related precautionary measures; it (April 2020) also decreased by 23% compared to February 2020, which was the highest value.
Steel exports increased by “5,000%” from QR3mn in December 2020 to QR132mn in January 2021 followed by chemical fertilisers, which increased by 62.2%, and chemical substances, up 23.9%, latrine with a 4.8% growth, and aluminium registering an 11.2% jump.
On the other hand, exports of other commodities, such as petrochemical, paraffin, essential oils, and industrial gases showed a decrease of 28.1%, 8.6%, 3.5%, and 1.9%, respectively.
India topped the list of countries of destination of the private sector’s exports with close to QR309mn or a 20.6% share of the total exports, followed by Oman with almost QR207mn or a share of 13.8 percent, Netherlands (QR135mn, 9% share), Singapore (QR129mn, 8.6%), and Hong Kong (QR112mn, 7.5%). Private sector exports to these countries represented 59.5% of the total value of exports during the same month.
On economic blocs and groupings, Asian countries were at the top of the economic blocs that received private sector exports worth QR891mn with a share of 59.4% of the total value, followed by GCC states with a share of 28.8% with exports of QR258mn.
The group of EU states was in third place with exports totalling QR217mn, representing 14.5% of the total value, followed by Arab countries, excluding GCC states that received QR68mn or a 4.5% share, and the US with exports worth QR46mn or 3.1%.
The group of ‘other European countries’ came in the sixth place with exports worth QR8.9mn, a share of 0.60%, followed by African countries (excluding Arab states) with exports worth QR8.5mn, a share of 0.57%, and ‘other American countries’, which received exports worth QR1mn or a share of 0.07%.