91-year-old emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, underwent 'successful surgery' on Sunday after being admitted to hospital
Kuwait’s main equity index led losses in the Middle East after the country’s ruler was hospitalised over the weekend and S&P Global Ratings downgraded the prospects for the economy.
The Premier Market index of the biggest and most liquid shares in Kuwait fell as much as 3.2 percent shortly after the opening. It later trimmed the decline to 0.9 percent as of 10:55am local time, with National Bank of Kuwait SAKP falling the most.
The 91-year-old emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, underwent “successful surgery” on Sunday after being admitted to a hospital, the state news agency KUNA reported. Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah will temporarily assume some of the emir’s constitutional functions and duties as the country tries to resume economic activity after introducing curbs to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition, S&P lowered its outlook for the country’s sovereign rating to negative from stable, citing the impact of oil-production cuts amid the pandemic. The ratings company expects the government deficit to widen to almost 40 percent of gross domestic product this year compared with about 10 percent in 2019.
The change in outlook “is an automatic result of low liquidity in state reserves”, Finance Minister Barak Al-Sheetan said in a statement. “The executive and legislative powers are now working on finding solutions for this challenge.”
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