With the global COVID-19 pandemic prolonging, several sectors in Qatar’s economy have been prone to damages. But the responsive vaccination program has allowed the country to reopen its economy and continue most activities in selected essential industries, eventually bringing positive growth to the overall macroeconomic of Qatar.
Three significant success factors cushion Qatar's economy situation. The energy prices' recovery that had previously dropped last year has shown faster-than-expected results through the rise to an average of USD 61 in the first quarter of 2021 and USD 60 during the second quarter of this year. With the unprecedented boost, Qatar's energy prices surpassed Asia's record of USD 12.
Qatar's flagship Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) production, the North Field East LNG expansion development plan, had also continued its postponed progress, bringing the country closer to further investment activities and significant economic catalysts.
The expansion would allow Qatar to become one of the largest LNG producers globally, inviting attractive businesses projects and putting the country at the center of the global energy market.
Qatar's decision to move forward with the 2022 World Cup stands as the critical event to bring back tourism to the country. The event was made possible due to Qatar's summit in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of this year, allowing numerous bilateral agreements designed to benefit both parties in the long run.
Qatar's confidence to continue the previously paused significant projects lies in its rapid injection of the COVID-19 vaccine.
So far, the country remains one of the ten countries that are most responsive and efficient in containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, albeit the possibility of new variants poses retaining uncertainties that linger in the journey of Qatar's recovery sustainability.
Today, the country has developed a stern mechanism to respond to preventive measures for Qatar’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic through testing, tracing, and individual quarantines.
Regardless, Qatar's transport and hospitality sectors recorded a considerable drop during the pandemic, namely a 27 percent ad 18 percent fall. The numbers were significantly high considering transport and hospitality were two of the most rapidly-growing sectors in the pre-pandemic era.
Other sectors such as wholesale, retail, manufacturing, and construction have similarly experienced a contraction during the pandemic, albeit not severely affected.
In contrast, the financial services in Qatar had shown positive progress of 6.3 percent year on year. The growth mainly owes its condition to the country's central bank liquidity that actively provides financing to push companies within the region to survive the hardships induced by the pandemic, such as lockdowns and difficulties in continuing their current programs.
Qatar gradually reduced the COVID-19 cases recorded in the country, the focus shifted to recovery, and significant developments planned to launch shortly next year.
However, the country's trajectory plan to build a sustainable society depends on the progress of its main recovery programs, eventually relying on economic transformation and its ability to cater to the constantly changing needs of the post-pandemic challenges that lie ahead.
Qatar needs to have robust strategies in resolving externalities that might pose disruption in their long-term development plans, such as the prolonging COVID-19 pandemic and the fluctuating energy prices.