DOHA: Qatar retained its ranking as the world’s richest country in 2012, with its per capita income soaring to an incredible $106,000, while Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with assets of $115bn, was ranked 12th among sovereign wealth funds in the world.
Qatar emerged as the world’s wealthiest country in 2010 with a per capita income of $88, 559, having overtaken Luxembourg, and continued with its top ranking the next year (2011).
Washington-based Institute for International Finance (IIF) has reported that Qatar’s per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its ranking as the world’s wealthiest nation. The IIF said Luxembourg came a distant second with nearly $80,000 and Singapore third with per capita income of about $61,000. Norway, which came in fourth, had a per capita GDP at PPP — $54,000 — that was almost half that of Qatar.
The IIF put Qatar’s GDP at $182bn in 2012 and said it had climbed to an all-time high due to soaring gas exports and high oil prices. Its population stood at 1.8 million in 2012.
The Governor of Qatar Central Bank, H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani, said last month that the country’s GDP was $191.78bn last year. Among the GCC countries, the per capita income of the UAE was $45,781, while that of Kuwait was $48,108, the IIF said. Oman was ahead of Saudi Arabia in terms of per capita GDP, which stood at $25,806. Saudi Arabia’s per capita income was $22,377 and that of Bahrain was $20,770.
African countries dominate the bottom of the ranking, occupying all of the last 10 spots, with Congo being the last, having a per capita income of barely $365. As for QIA, the UK-based TheCityUK ranked it 12th among the world’s sovereign wealth funds in terms of asset size in the year 2012. The assets of the QIA totalled $115bn. TheCityUK said in a report titled ‘Sovereign Wealth Funds’ released this month that the profile of sovereign wealth funds had risen considerably since 2007.
The world economic downturn has highlighted the growing role of investment by foreign governments, particularly in market conditions characterised by scarce liquidity, said the report.
Assets under management of sovereign wealth funds worldwide rose eight percent in 2012 to around $5.2 trillion, an astronomical sum that is expected to rise to $5.6 trillion this year.
In addition to sovereign wealth fund assets, there was also $7.7 trillion held in other sovereign investment vehicles such as pension reserve funds and development funds, The CityUK said.