Kuwait ten-month budget surplus at $60.5bn

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Kuwait had a budget surplus of KWD17.2bn (US$60.5bn) in the first ten months of its fiscal year, preliminary budget data showed on Wednesday, thanks to robust oil income and lower-than-expected public spending.

The government spent KWD9.8bn in the ten months to the end of January, less than half of the KWD21.2bn originally earmarked for the period, a report posted on the Finance Ministry's website showed.

Income was KWD27.0bn, much higher than the KWD13.9bn which had been predicted. Oil revenues were KWD25.5bn, or 94 percent of the income, the data showed.

The ten-month surplus is equivalent to around 39 percent of the Gulf state's 2011 gross domestic product, according to a Reuters calculation based on the latest official data.

A Reuters poll in September forecast that Kuwait would record a budget surplus of 25.0 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2012/13, which began in April. The cabinet approved a revised budget for the current fiscal year in October.

High global oil prices have boosted Kuwait's revenue, while domestic political tensions have limited spending by delaying work on major parts of a KWD30bn infrastructure building and economic development plan announced in late 2010.

However, in the last few months there have been signs that the government has found ways to move ahead with some projects, which could reduce the budget surplus.

"With reported spending likely to accelerate further in coming months, we expect the budget to close the year at a lower KWD14bn - still an all-time high," National Bank of Kuwait wrote in a research note.

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