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DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Qatar says its budget surplus has doubled to $26 billion, highlighting the vast resources of the energy-rich Gulf state as it expands its political reach and global assets.

The figures announced Thursday by Qatar's Central Bank show the surplus for July to September at twice the level from the same three-month period last year.

Qatar, a major oil and gas exporter, has used its wealth to boost its regional profile during the Arab Spring by backing rebels in Libya and Syria.

It also has funded a special $2.5 billion fund to help Italian companies, including fashion houses and furniture design, and has promised to help Greece with its struggling economy. Qatar also has increasingly pumped cash into prominent Western luxury brands, including Tiffany & Co.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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