Kuwait budget surplus surges to $ 52.2 billion

Updated 18 December 2012
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Kuwait budget surplus surges to $ 52.2 billion

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's provisional budget surplus surged 43 percent to 14.7 billion dinars ($ 52.2 billion) in the first seven months of the fiscal year, boosted by oil income, government data showed yesterday.
The figure compares with a 7.3 billion dinar ($ 26.0 billion) deficit projected in the budget for 2012-2013, which began on April 1. The surplus stood at $ 36.5 billion in the same period last fiscal year.
In the 2011-2012 fiscal year that ended on March 31, the OPEC member posted a record budget surplus of $47 billion on the back of an all-time high income of $ 107.5 billion. Oil income makes up about 95 percent of public revenues.
Revenues until the end of October also rose 15.7 percent to 18.86 billion dinars compared with the same period in the last fiscal year.
The seven-month income is also up 35.3 percent on budget estimates for the whole year of 13.9 billion dinars, according to the figures posted on the Finance Ministry website.
Income from oil jumped 40.9 percent over the same period last year to 18.0 billion dinars.
Meanwhile, spending shrank by a massive 30.7 percent to 4.2 billion dinars from last fiscal year's 6.0 billion dinars in the first seven months.
The ministry did not give reasons for the sharp drop but it is believed an ongoing political crisis in the Gulf state has further slowed down projects.
Kuwait's government issued the 2012-2013 budget with record spending projections of 21.2 billion dinars in the absence of a parliament. The new assembly is expected to confirm the budget soon.
National Bank of Kuwait said in a recent report that the country was expected to post a surplus of between $ 34.8 billion and $ 45.4 billion at the end of the current fiscal year.
The projections were based on an average oil price of between $ 104 and $ 107 a barrel for Kuwaiti crude, said the central bank.
Kuwait has projected a deficit in each of the past 13 fiscal years, but ended in surplus mainly by calculating oil income at a very low price.
During that period, the emirate has accumulated about $ 250 billion in budget surpluses.
Under Kuwaiti law, 10 percent of revenues are deducted every year in favor of the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, the assets of which are estimated at about $ 400 billion.
This fiscal year, Kuwait decided to transfer 25 percent of revenues into the sovereign wealth fund. Returns on the fund are not included in the budget.
With a native population of 1.2 million in addition to 2.6 million foreigners, Kuwait says it holds 10 percent of global crude oil reserves and pumps about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day.


US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

Updated 23 June 2018
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US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

  • US tells WTO appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days
  • Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatens to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars

GENEVA: The United States ramped up its challenge to the global trading system on Friday, telling the World Trade Organization that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days.
The statement by US Ambassador Dennis Shea threatened to erode a key element of trade enforcement at the 23-year-old WTO: binding dispute settlement, which is widely seen as a major bulwark against protectionism.
It came as US President Donald Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatened to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars, the latest in an unprecedented campaign of threats and tariffs to punish US trading partners.
Shea told the WTO’s dispute settlement body that rulings by the WTO’s Appellate Body, effectively the supreme court of world trade, were invalid if they took too long. Rulings would no longer be governed by “reverse consensus,” whereby they are blocked only if all WTO members oppose them.
“The consequence of the Appellate Body choosing to breach (WTO dispute) rules and issue a report after the 90-day deadline would be that this report no longer qualifies as an Appellate Body report for purposes of the exceptional negative consensus adoption procedure,” Shea said, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Reuters.
An official who attended the meeting said other WTO members agreed that the Appellate Body should stick to the rules, but none supported Shea’s view that late rulings could be vetoed, and many expressed concern about his remarks.
Rulings are routinely late because, the WTO says, disputes are abundant and complex. Things have slowed further because Trump is blocking new judicial appointments, increasing the remaining judges’ already bulging workload.
At Friday’s meeting the United States maintained its opposition to the appointment of judges, effectively signalling a veto of one judge hoping for reappointment to the seven-seat bench in September.
Without him, the Appellate Body will only have three judges, the minimum required for every dispute, putting the system at severe risk of breakdown if any of the three judges cannot work on a case for legal or other reasons.
“Left unaddressed, these challenges can cripple, paralyze, or even extinguish the system,” chief judge Ujal Singh Bhatia said.
Sixty-six WTO member states are backing a petition that asks the United States to allow appointments to go ahead. On Friday, US ally Japan endorsed the petition for the first time, meaning that all the major users of the dispute system were united in opposition to Trump.