KUWAIT'S DEFICIT: $18.2 BLN
PE published, Kuwait's finance minister says the oil-exporting country has posted a budget deficit of $18.2 billion for the most recent fiscal year as lower crude prices slash into government revenue.
Anas al-Saleh, who is also the acting oil minister, was quoted in the state-run Kuwait News Agency on Sunday as saying the deficit was nearly $9 billion less than budgeted for. The new fiscal year in Kuwait began April 1.
Kuwait's budget deficit reflects the impact lower oil prices have had on crude exporters, particularly Gulf Arab monarchies that rely on oil revenues to support generous subsidies, welfare benefits and public sector wages.
Al-Saleh was quoted as saying Kuwait is "facing serious challenges" that require trimming spending, diversifying the economy, creating more jobs for Kuwaitis and attracting greater foreign investment.
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IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.