Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/16/2013 -- We maintain our very positive outlook on Qatar's consumer sector, as the Qatari economy will remain a regional outperformer for the foreseeable future, with strong growth in consumption and investment patterns expected over the coming years. With the official unemployment rate standing at less than 1%, per capita GDP among the highest in the world, and inflation in the low single digits, we have every reason to believe that consumer spending is likely to remain buoyant in the near term. An August YouGov/Bayt.com consumer confidence index ranked Qataris as the third most optimistic consumers in the Middle East and North Africa region on the question of their economic prospects, with 51% of respondents saying they expected the economy to be in a better state in a year's time. We forecast impressive private consumption growth of 13.0% and 10.0% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
We also expect government consumption to remain elevated, with two primary factors behind this spending: First, consumer staples such as food, energy, education and healthcare are heavily subsidised by the government. With household incomes on the rise, credit growth picking up rapidly, and the economy firing on all cylinders, inflationary pressure will inevitably increase over the coming years. Consequently, unless Doha is willing to allow consumer prices to rise (which is unlikely, given that such a move would prove politically unpalatable, and that the government has ample fiscal space), its subsidy bill will increase gradually over the coming years. At the same time, spending will also increase as the government continues to invest in the country's healthcare, education and other social services infrastructure, as our forecasts see government consumption increasing by 15.0% and 12.0% in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
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Headline Industry Data
- 2012 food consumption growth = +6.0%; forecast to 2016 = +35.2%.
- 2012 soft drinks value sales = +9.0%; forecast to 2016 = +51.9%.
- 2012 mass grocery retail sales = +7.6%; forecast to 2016 = +45.9%.
- 2012 supermarket sales = +2.9%; forecast to 2016 = +23.8%.
Key Industry Trends And Developments
Investments in Premium Water: In July 2012 it was announced that Qatar-based Tamani Foodstuffs has entered into an agreement with Canadian luxury drink producer Gize to expand Gize's presence in the Middle East region. Tamami Foodstuffs will be the new sales and distribution partner for the nonalcoholic drinks company that specializes in high-end mineral water. Tamani will represent Gize in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Yemen. A Gize representative has said that this partnership with Tamani will benefit Gize greatly as it will allow it to benefit from Tamani's network and logistics in order to be present in luxury hotels and gourmet venues, and make the drink a recognized part of menus in luxury venues across the region.
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