Qatar’s Top 10 Exports

Qatar’s Top 10 Exports


Located on the Arabian Peninsula’s northeast coast, the State of Qatar borders with Saudi Arabia while sharing sea borders on the Persian Gulf with the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

Qatar shipped an estimated US$62.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -54.1% decline since 2013 but a 9.7% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Qatar is the world’s richest country in terms of GDP per capita. Its total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $340.6 billion in 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Qatar’s exported goods plus services represent 44.6% of total Qatari economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective and based on 2016 trade data, $47.2 billion or 82.4% of Qatari exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 10.4% were sold to European importers. Qatar shipped another 3.3% worth of goods to African customers with 1.3% going to North America. At 1.1%, a smaller percentage was bought by Latin American nations (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean countries.

Given Qatar’s population of 2.3 million people, its total $62.8 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $27,200 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.

Qatar’s unemployment rate was 0.1% at December 2017 according to Trading Economics.

Qatar’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Qatari global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Qatar.

Please note that the results listed below are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix level.

At the more detailed 4-digit HTS code prefix level, the most valuable Qatari exported good was petroleum gases ($30.7 billion). In second place was crude oil ($15.9 billion) followed by refined petroleum oils ($7.2 billion) then ethylene polymers ($2.3 billion).

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$53.9 billion (85.7% of total exports)
  2. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.3 billion (3.7%)
  3. Aluminum: $1.4 billion (2.2%)
  4. Fertilizers: $1.3 billion (2%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $1.2 billion (1.9%)
  6. Inorganic chemicals: $589.4 million (0.9%)
  7. Iron, steel: $254.4 million (0.4%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $232 million (0.4%)
  9. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $229.8 million (0.4%)
  10. Aircraft, spacecraft: $161.2 million (0.3%)

Qatar’s top 10 exports accounted for 97.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Gems and precious metals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 178.7% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was aircraft and spacecraft which appreciated by 48.1%.

Qatari aluminum exports posted the third-fastest gain in value via its 18.2% gain.

Leading the declining categories among the top 10 Qatari exports was plastics including plastic items via a -20.9% year-over-year setback.


Overall Qatar posted an estimated $37-billion trade surplus during 2017.

The following types of Qatari product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$53.5 billion (Up by 15.2% since 2016)
  2. Plastics, plastic articles: $1.7 billion (Down by -19%)
  3. Fertilizers: $1.3 billion (Up by 2.9%)
  4. Aluminum: $1.2 billion (Up by 34%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $981.7 million (Up by 5.7%)
  6. Inorganic chemicals: $230.9 million (Down by -6.2%)
  7. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $168 million (Reversing a -$353 million deficit)
  8. Woodpulp: $2.6 million (Reversing a -$1.6 million deficit)
  9. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $2.2 million (Up by 153.7%)
  10. Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $776,000 (Up by 233%)

Qatar has highly positive net exports in the international trade of mineral fuels-related goods notably petroleum gases and oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Qatar’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil product category.


Below are exports from Qatar that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Qatar’s goods trail Qatari importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$3.6 billion (Down by -23.2% since 2016)
  2. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$3.5 billion (Up by 85.8%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$2.2 billion (Down by -26.2%)
  4. Vehicles: -$2.2 billion (Down by -29.4%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: -$1.1 billion (Up by 110.1%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: -$792.9 million (Down by -35.9%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: -$679.7 million (Down by -20.6%)
  8. Ships, boats: -$575.4 million (Up by 73.1%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$542.4 million (Up by 1.1%)
  10. Meat: -$419.5 million (Down by -3.6%)

Qatar has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery including computers.


Qatari Export Companies

Eight Qatari corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 albeit many of these are in the financial services. Below are samples from the Forbes listing.

  • Qatar National Bank (regional bank)
  • Ooredoo Telecom (telecommunications services)
  • Industries Qatar (specialized chemicals)

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Qatar. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Qatar National Cement Company (cement manufacturing)
  • Qatar Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • Qatar Steel (steel, other basic materials)
  • Qatargas (natural gas)
  • RasGas (natural gas)

Qatar’s capital city is Doha.

See also Qatar’s Top Trading Partners, Top Middle Eastern Export Countries and Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 17, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 17, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 17, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 17, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 17, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Qatar. Accessed on August 17, 2018

Wikipedia, Qatar. Accessed on August 17, 2018