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DOHA: Qatar imported more automobiles in the fourth and last quarter (October to December) of 2012 than the previous three-month period even as its foreign trade surplus fell slightly in that quarter over the third one.
A highlight was that more cars were imported in the last quarter with the imports rising QR236m ($64.65m) to QR2.66m ($728m) from QR2.42m ($663m) in the previous three months of July to September.
Qatar’s foreign trade surplus was marginally down to QR96.7bn ($26.49bn) in the final quarter, from QR99.2bn ($27.17bn) in the July to September period.
Preliminary estimates released by the national statistics agency show that automobiles were the largest item of imports in the two quarters (third and fourth) followed by aircraft and helicopter accessories. Imports totalled QR23.74bn ($6.5bn) in the final quarter, slightly up over the previous quarter (QR23.27bn), with the US, China and Japan ranking as the first three top destinations from where the imports were accessed. The UAE which is responsible for large volumes of re-exports maintained its fourth position among the exporters to Qatar, followed by Germany.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, the mainstay of Qatari exports, dipped marginally in the last quarter to QR43.3bn ($11.86bn) from QR47.13bn ($12.91bn) in the previous one.
Crude oil export volumes were almost half of those of the LNG, at QR22.74bn, and were slightly less than the third quarter figure of QR23.22bn, according to the Qatar Statistics Authority.
The third largest items of imports were condensates, followed by propane, naphtha and butane and low and high density polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE) that find widespread industrial use.
Exports totalled QR120.4bn ($33bn), reflecting a marginal drop of 1.6 percent over the third quarter but showing a high 9.9 percent year-on-year growth. Japan, South Korea and India were the three largest destinations of Qatari exports.