Qatar’s economy is projected to slow down sharply in 2012-2013 after recording one of the world’s highest growth rates following the completion of mega gas projects, according to a key Saudi bank. The Gulf country’s real GDP had recorded double-digit growth over the past decade before slipping below 10 per cent in 2009 due to the 2008 global fiscal distress. But it sharply rebounded to 16.3 per cent in 2010 and is expected to have swelled by 14.1 per cent in 2011.Growth is expected to plunge to six per cent in 2012 and continue its downward trend to reach 4.6 per cent in 2013, Saudi American Bank Group (SAMBA) said in a study published this week. Citing Qatari government data, it said 2011 real GDP growth was driven by good performance in both the oil and non-hydrocarbon sectors, which expanded by 15.7 and 12.9 per cent respectively. “These figures may yet be revised but they point to an encouraging performance in the broader economy which is expected to strengthen through 2012 as the authorities push ahead with ambitious infrastructure and development plans,” the report said. “As for 2012, we have adjusted our growth projections on the basis of the new figures and now expect real GDP growth to hit six per cent, before slipping to 4.6 per cent in 2013, driven in large part by an acceleration in spending under the country’s National Development Strategy (NDS). “It said the construction sector should be a major beneficiary of such activity and expected it to grow strongly this year and in 2013.Although still dominated by the hydrocarbons sector, which also provides the feedstock for much of Qatar’s manufacturing as well as revenues to fund government services and infrastructure spending, the Qatar economy is becoming increasingly diversified, according to Samba. The report showed the non-hydrocarbons sector has grown to account for 55 percent of real GDP in 2011 from 43 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, nominal GDP soared by another 36 percent to reach $174 billion in 2011, making the economy almost ten times larger than in 2000. Per capita income in Qatar is now amongst the highest in the world at over $100,000. Qatar has the world’s third largest proven gas reserves at around 25 trillion cubic metres after those in Iran and Russia. But it became the top global LNG exporter after the completion of mega projects at its gigantic offshore North Field at the end of 2010 lifted output to nearly 77 million tonnes per year.The surge in its gas income allied with oil revenue and Qatar’s relatively small population of around 1.8 million to turn it into one of the wealthiest nations.