$7.8 bln deficit in Qatar’s 2017 budget

Shortfall will be covered by local and international debt issues, says Finance Minister

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Qatar expects to post a budget deficit of 28.3 billion riyals ($7.8 billion) in 2017, the finance ministry said on Thursday, in a sign of the lingering toll of low global oil prices on Gulf economies.

Finance Minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi said that revenues were estimated at 170.1 billion riyals while expenditure was estimated at 198.4 billion riyals, state news agency QNA said.

The gas-rich Gulf state projected a significantly higher deficit of 46.5 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) in 2016, its first in 15 years.

The 2017 shortfall will continue to be covered by local and international debt issues, al-Emadi added.

Education, health and infrastructure will account for nearly half of all expenditures at 87.1 billion riyals and will include building projects for Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

OPEC members and other oil-exporting countries agreed to slash output this month to raise prices and shore up state revenues, in a move which may bring relief to countries like Qatar.

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