Kuwait posts record high 2011-12 budget surplus

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A view of downtown Kuwait City.

Kuwait posted a record budget surplus and revenues in the 2011-2012 fiscal year that ended on 31 March on the back of high oil output and price, an economic report said on Sunday.

The oil-rich Gulf state posted a historical budget surplus of 13.2 billion dinars ($47 billion) for the 13th consecutive fiscal year, the Al-Shall Economic Consultants said in a report citing official figures.

The previous highest surplus of KD 9.33 billion ($33.2 billion) was posted in the 2007-2008 fiscal year when oil prices skyrocketted to a record $147 a barrel.

Kuwait had projected a deficit of $21 billion for 2011-2012 because it calculated oil income at $60 a barrel compared to the actual $110 a barrel and oil output at 2.2 million barrels per day compared to the actual production of 3.0 million bpd.

Kuwait has projected a deficit in each of the past 13 fiscal years but ended in surplus mainly for calculating oil income at a very conservative price.

During that period, the emirate has accumulated about $250 billion in budget surpluses and is also expected to end the current year in the black, if oil prices remain high.

Under Kuwaiti law, 10% of revenues are deducted every year in favour of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, the assets of which are estimated at about $400 billion. Returns on the fund are not included in the budget.

Revenues in the past fiscal year hit a record 30.2 billion dinars ($107.5 billion), Al-Shall reported, more than twice the budget projections of $47.7 billion.

Last year’s income is 40.5% higher than the previous record of 21.5 billion dinars ($76.5 billion) posted in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Oil revenues also reached a record 28.6 billion dinars ($101.7 billion) making up 94.5 percent of total income and more than twice the budget projections.

Spending was 17 billion dinars ($60.5 billion), down 12.5% on budget projections but a small five percent rise from the previous year.

Kuwait is yet issue its budget for the current fiscal year of 2012/2013 although it has started on 1 April due to a political dispute between the government and parliament.

The Gulf state adopts a cradle-to-grave welfare policy where a majority of citizens are employed by the government, receive handsome salaries, pay no taxes and receive services at low charges or for free.

Kuwait, with a native population of 1.2 million in addition to 2.5 million foreigners, says it holds 10% of global crude reserves.

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