Qatar now world’s richest nation, says IMF

International Monetary Fund data shows Gulf state overtook Luxembourg to take top spot

Qatar surpassed Luxembourg as the world’s richest nation in 2010 and is set to pull away with wealth that’s almost twice that of the US, latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund show.

The IMF’s Chart of the Day shows Qatar’s gross domestic product per capita at $88,221 in 2010, beating Luxembourg for the top spot, according to IMF data.

The figure may reach $111,963 by 2016, surpassing Luxembourg’s $94,621 and Singapore’s $70,992, the IMF said.

US GDP per capita is forecast at $55,622 in five years, from $46,860 in 2010.

“It’s the combination of wealth, growth and a small population,” said Paul Cooper, Dubai-based managing director at Sarasin-Alpen & Partners, which oversees more than $500 million in the Middle East.

Qatar, the host of the 2022 soccer World Cup, forecasts economic growth of about 16 percent in 2011 and projects a budget surplus of $6.1 billion this fiscal year.

The IMF estimates the Persian Gulf nation will have the world’s fastest-growing economy for a second year. Qatar, which is smaller than Connecticut, has a population of about 848,000, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The country, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has reached its target of 77 million tons of annual production.

Qatar is expected to keep posting budget surpluses in the coming years and the OPEC member’s nominal gross domestic product should jump to QR547bn ($150bn) this year, its central bank governor said earlier this month.

Qatar, one of the largest global investors through its sovereign wealth fund, plans to spend over $125bn in the next five years on construction and energy projects according to its plan.

Qatar’s nominal GDP reached QR463bn in 2010. The government 2011 estimate is putting its growth at 18 percent at current prices, according to Reuters calculations.

Analysts polled by Reuters in June forecast Qatar’s real GDP to expand by 16.7 percent in 2011.

 


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