Kuwait eight-month budget surplus at $52bn

Strong oil revenues help generate large surplus for first eight months of fiscal year
A Kuwait dinar banknote.
By Reuters
Sun 13 Jan 2013 05:02 PM

Kuwait's government budget surplus stood at KWD14.7bn (US$52bn) in the first eight months of its fiscal year thanks to strong oil revenues, data from the Gulf country's finance ministry showed.

The April-November surplus accounts for around 33.1 percent of the OPEC member's 2011 gross domestic product, according to a Reuters calculation based on the latest official data.

A Reuters poll in September forecast Kuwait would record a budget surplus of 23.8 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2012/13, which began in April.

Total revenue was KWD21.6bn while spending reached a mere KWD6.9bn, around a third of the KWD21.2bn total projected for the year. Kuwait had originally wanted to spend KWD14.2bn by November, the data showed.

The surplus is already larger than the figure for full year 2011/2012, when Kuwait booked a record KWD13.2bn surplus thanks to robust oil income and lower spending.

Receipts from crude exports account for around 95 percent of the government's income. Kuwait's cabinet approved a revised budget for the current fiscal year in October.

While its fiscal position is strong, political upheaval in the Gulf Arab state has stalled implementation of major parts of a KWD30bn (US$107bn) economic development plan announced in late 2010.

Analysts say Kuwait needs to diversify its oil-reliant economy and control wage growth.

As part of plans to invest revenues more efficiently, authorities decided to increase the amount channelled into Kuwait's Future Generations Fund, a nest egg for when oil supplies diminish or for when the economy suffers other shocks.

A newspaper reported on Sunday that assets in the fund totalled US$261bn at the end of the last fiscal year.

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