Qatar continues to enjoy a strong economy and will maintain the same momentum of 2012, Qatar National Bank (QNB) said Saturday in its weekly report. The report said that Qatar’s budget surplus will help it make more investments in infra-structure, something that will aid the diversification of the Qatari economy. The group also said that Qatar’s real GDP expanded at a rapid pace in the first quarter of 2013 by 6.2% year-on-year, according to the Qatar Statistics Authority. The current account surplus peaked on robust export performance, coupled with moderate inflation rates. They expect real GDP growth to accelerate during the remainder of 2013 to reach 6.5% for the entire year. The group expects GDP to then rise by 6.8% for 2014 supported by large infrastructure investments and associated population growth which will more than offset the strong headwinds from the global economy. The report said that growth figures for the first quarter of 2013 confirmed the success of the ongoing process of diversifying the Qatari economy away from its traditional role as a hydrocarbon exporter towards a manufacturing and services hub. Manufacturing was the fastest growing sector by 12.5%. It was aided by production from the new Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) facilities. Construction was also witnessing rapid growth, 11.7% year on year and 6.3% in the first quarter alone compared to the final quarter of 2012. The figures reflected that Qatar’s infrastructure development program was gathering steam.