By Staff writer
Gulf state has struggled to diversify economy despite forecasting $27bn deficit this financial year
Oil will still account for 93 percent of Kuwait’s revenues during 2015-16, despite the lower price, Industrial Bank of Kuwait chairman Abdulmohsen Al Hunaif reportedly said.
The country is expected to record its first deficit in more than a decade this financial year and a year earlier than previously forecast due to oil prices more than halving since mid-2014. The government estimates the deficit will total $27bn.
Despite analysts including the International Monetary Fund warning for several years that the country’s fiscal position was weak and it needed to diversify, the Kuwaiti government has made little progress.
Instead, its sovereign wealth fund is reportedly considering selling assets. Al Anba newspaper reported in October that the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), which is estimated to have more than $500bn of assets, was studying whether to liquidate assets that generate annual returns of below 9 percent, potentially generating $30bn in sales.
The government ran a deficit of 1.094 billion dinars in the first five months of the fiscal year which started in April, after a deduction for the Future Generations Fund, which is part of its sovereign fund.
Finance Minister Anas Al Saleh also said in September that the government planned to sell local currency bonds by the end of the year to help cover its deficit.