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Tue 3 May 2011 04:11 PM

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Kuwait net budget surplus grows in 2010/11

Gulf state's net budget surplus increased to $23.67bn as Arab unrest saw oil income jump

Kuwait net budget surplus grows in 2010/11
OIL REVENUES Analysts polled by Reuters in March forecast that Kuwait would post a surplus of 19.8 percent of GDP

Kuwait's net budget surplus increased to KD6.5bn ($23.67bn) in its 2010/11 fiscal year as oil income jumped, while spending remained trailing the original plan, preliminary data showed on Tuesday.

The net figure is after a transfer of ten percent of revenues to a fund for future generations, managed by the OPEC producer's sovereign wealth fund.

Before the transfer, the fiscal surplus reached KD8.5bn ($30.95bn), or 23.1 percent of Kuwait's gross domestic product, above market expectations and KD6.4bn ($23.3bn) seen in the previous fiscal year.

Analysts polled by Reuters in March forecast that the world's fourth largest crude exporter would post a surplus of 19.8 percent of GDP.

Expenditure came in at KD12.4bn ($45.16bn) in fiscal year 2010/11, which ended in March, well behind the original plan of KD16.3bn ($59.36bn).

"These won't be the final accounts for the 2010/11 fiscal year ... in the final set of accounts, expenditure is revised up very heavily," said Daniel Kaye, senior economist at National Bank of Kuwait.

"I suspect that in the closing accounts, expenditure will be much closer to the budget numbers for the year."

The budget included spending on a four-year, KD30bn ($109.26bn) development plan, which is aimed at diversifying the crude-reliant economy and increasing the role of the private sector.

Revenue reached 20.9bn ($76.1bn) in the year to March 31, more than double the KD9.7bn ($35.32bn), preliminary data posted on the finance ministry's website www.mof.gov.kw also showed.

Kuwait had set its 2010/11 budget with a deficit of KD6.6bn ($24.03bn), assuming that crude, its main revenue earner, would fetch $43 per barrel. Benchmark US crude prices had been hovering between $64 and $107 a barrel during the 2010/11 fiscal year. As a result, oil income soared to KD19.4bn ($70.65bn), up from the original plan of KD8.6bn ($31.32bn).

The ministry did not say when the final figures were expected.

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