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Fri 17 Oct 2008 12:42 PM

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Kuwait H1 income exceeds full year target

OPEC's fourth largest producer on track to post budget surplus for 10th year in row.

Kuwait collected $54 billion in revenue in the first six months of the fiscal year, above its budget target for the whole year, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

The earnings are about 15 percent above projected revenues of $47.5 billion for the 2008/2009 fiscal year which began on April 1.

Oil revenues came in at $52 billion dollars, about 19.3 percent above budget projections for oil income.

In calculating budget revenues, Kuwait adopted a conservative price of $50 a barrel for its oil, but the actual price for the first half of the year was above $100, before retreating recently.

Kuwait, which says it sits on 10 percent of global oil reserves, has been pumping about 2.6 million barrels per day.

Spending in the first six months was $20.6 billion, less than a third of the $71 billion dollars in budget outlays forecast for the whole year.

That leaves a preliminary first half budget surplus of $33.7 billion although the budget projects a massive full year deficit of $23.5 billion.

The first half figures put OPEC's fourth largest producer well on track to post a budget surplus for the 10th straight year.

In the past fiscal year which ended on March 31, Kuwait achieved a record surplus of $35 billion.

Based on official figures compiled by AFP, Kuwait has chalked up a total budget surplus of $113 billion over the past nine fiscal years starting with the 1999-2000 year.

Kuwait, which has foreign investments worth $264 billion, has a native population of just over one million, plus 2.35 million foreign residents.