Kuwait 7-month budget surplus widens to $19.9 billion
Reuters, Monday 6 Dec 2010
High oil revenues and low spending widened Kuwait's budget surplus

Kuwait's budget surplus widened to 5.59 billion dinars ($19.9 billion) in the first seven months of the 2010 fiscal year on higher than forecast oil revenues and lower spending, data showed on Monday.

Revenue in the world's fourth-largest oil exporter recorded a 19.1 percent jump to 11.54 billion dinars at the end of October from a year ago, data at the finance ministry website www.mof.gov.kw showed.

The OPEC member's oil revenue accounted for 94 percent of the total income, while spending in the first seven months reached 5.94 billion dinars, 36.4 percent of the full year plan. The fiscal year in Kuwait starts in April.

The surplus reached 5.43 billion dinars in the first six months of the same fiscal year.

The Gulf state's 2010/11 budget forecast a deficit of 6.58 billion dinars, assuming its crude, the main revenue earner, would fetch $43 a barrel.

Analysts have said the budget is likely to register the biggest surplus in the Gulf by the financial year-end as the oil price estimate on which it is based is well below current market prices, which are not expected to fall sharply.

Benchmark U.S. crude traded around $89 a barrel on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected a fiscal surplus of 18.9 percent of gross domestic product for the current fiscal year.