After nearly four months of delays, Kuwait this week released its budget for the 2013-14 financial year (beginning 1 April), the last of the OPEC countries to do so (see p16). This confirmed earlier speculation that the majority of the producer group’s members would be adopting higher crude prices for their 2013 budgets.

As was the case in 2012, the increase in OPEC’s MENA members’ budgets is likely to have been driven by hikes in public spending, resulting from the various stimulus programs put in place by a number of the regional governments, to appease the lingering unrest sparked by the Arab Spring more than two years ago. (CONTINUED - 801 WORDS)