Libya racked up a budget deficit of $16bn for the first eight months of the year, with expenditure of $27bn and budget revenue of only $11bn because of the extended shutdown of the oil fields, Libya’s Audit Bureau said on 21 September. As a result of this deficit, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) had been instructed to refrain from making any payments other than public sector salaries or necessary expenditures not exceeding LD200,000 ($158,730). The bureau has requested the ministry of finance to explain the reasons for this deficit.

However the reasons aren’t hard to figure out. The country has been wracked by political instability bordering on civil war for most of the year so far. Oil output for the first eight months of 2014 averaged only 320,000 b/d, and whilst volumes have increased in recent weeks this recovery looks fragile (see p2). (CONTINUED - 431 WORDS)