Kuwait posts rare budget deficit
LOWER oil prices have pushed Kuwait into a rare budget deficit, ending 16 straight years of surpluses for the energy-rich Gulf state, the finance minister said.
The OPEC member recorded a budget shortfall of 4.6 billion dinars (US$15.3 billion) in the fiscal year which ended on March 31, Anas alSaleh said in a statement.
It was the first shortfall since the fiscal year to March 1999.
Revenues dropped by 45 percent to $45.2 billion while spending was cut by 14.8pc to $60.5 billion, the minister said. Oil income was $40.1 billion, a slump of 46.3pc from the previous year, he said. Oil accounted for 89pc of total revenues, down from 95pc in previous years.
Mr Anas told parliament last month that Kuwait plans to tap international debt markets through bond issues to finance the deficit.
He said the emirate would borrow up to $10 billion in US-denominated bonds from international markets, in both conventional and (Islamic) sukuk issuance.
The ministry will borrow another $6.6 billion in both conventional and Islamic instruments from the domestic market, Mr Saleh said. –