Kuwait posts lower surplus, but is still the second-highest on record

KUWAIT — Kuwait's budget surplus in the year to March 31 came in 34 per cent below the government's projection because of higher expenditure, but was still the second-highest on record, official data showed yesterday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 19 Jul 2007, 8:51 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:21 PM

Kuwait, the Middle East's fourth-largest oil exporter, posted a surplus of KD3.652 billion ($13 billion), down from last year's KD5.493 billion, according to final figures from the finance ministry obtained by Reuters.

The ministry had predicted a surplus of 5.651 billion dinars in its preliminary projections in June.

National Bank of Kuwait's Chief Economist Randa Azar-Khoury said there was a decline because a few ministries were usually late in reporting some spending expenditures such as wages.

"The preliminary figures do take into account all actual expenditures," Azar-Khoury said.

Commitments of funds and actual expenditure rose to KD11.857 billion from the preliminary estimate of KD9.808 billion, the figures showed. Revenue projections, based largely on oil exports, were almost unchanged at 15.5 billion dinars.

The 2006/07 surplus was lower than the previous year because the government made a one-time payment of around KD2 billion to a social security fund to cover overdue contributions, Azar-Khoury said

Kuwait's surplus oil wealth is invested by the state-owned Kuwait Investment Authority, which had at least $213 billion in assets under management on March 31, according to official figures.

Last week, parliament approved the 2007/08 budget with a projected deficit of more than 3 billion dinars. The ministry based the budget on a very conservative oil price forecast of $36 per barrel. London Brent crude, which usually trades at a premium to Kuwaiti crude, hit $75.76 yesterday.

Azar-Khoury said the National Bank of Kuwait was expecting a surplus of between KD2 billion and KD4.6 billion for 2007/2008.

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