The value of imports into Qatar fell 20.2 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year, data from the Gulf state’s statistics authority showed.

Imports for the first half of 2010 totalled 37 billion riyals ($10.2 billion) compared with 47 billion riyals for the first half of 2009, it said.

Cars were the top commodity by value imported by Qatar in the first half of the year representing 5 percent of total import value, followed by parts and spare parts for aircrafts at 4 percent. Electrical cables ranked third, representing 2.4 percent of import value, the data showed.

The statistics office has not released exports data and has not released trade data on a regular basis in the past.

The U.S. was the top exporter to Qatar during both 2009 and 2010, accounting for about 11 percent of imports in both years, the authority said. China ranked second with 7.8 percent and 8.9 percent of total imports in 2009 and 2010.

The economy of the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter is seen outperforming most of its fellow Gulf Arab crude producers, mainly due to gas output expansion and government infrastructure spending.

The IMF sees Qatar’s real GDP growth at 16.0 percent in 2010 and 18.6 percent in 2011. (Reuters)