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Unlike its GCC peers Kuwait at least notched up a trade surplus in 2015, albeit the lowest in 10 years. But it will be hard-pressed to repeat this trick in 2016.
The country’s oil export revenue fell by 45% to KD 14.7bn last year, the result not only of a collapse in prices but also of a 3% fall in production as Kuwait was hit by the progressive outage from late 2014 of production from the Neutral Zone it shares with Saudi Arabia (see p4).
In dollar terms oil revenue was down by 48% at $48.7bn, a mere 45% of 2013 takings.
And things could get worse. For the first three months of 2016, Kuwaiti crude prices averaged just $28/B. Were this to continue for the remainder of 2016 whilst volumes remain steady Kuwait could expect a $20bn fall to just over $28bn in oil revenues and – presuming steady imports and non-oil revenue – a slide to a $5bn deficit. With the recent rebound in prices a modest surplus looks a more likely prospect.
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