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Kuwait posts USD28.9b surplus

KUWAIT CITY, Mar 29 – Kuwait posted a preliminary budget surplus of 28.9 billion dollars in the first 11 months of the fiscal year despite projecting a deficit, the finance ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said that revenues until the end of February reached 55.5 billion dollars, around twice as much as it had projected for the whole 2009-2010 fiscal year which ends on March 31.

Oil revenues contributed 94.7 percent of total income.

Oil income to the end of February reached 52.5 billion dollars, or more than twice the 24.1 billion dollars projected by the budget for the whole year.

Kuwait had projected a shortfall of 14 billion dollars in the current year after calculating oil income at a conservative price of 35 dollars a barrel, with the actual price more than twice as high.

The emirate\’s spending during the 11 month period was 26.6 billion dollars, just 63.4 percent of projected expenditure for the whole year of 42.1 billion dollars, the ministry figures showed.

The huge budget surplus is expected to be lower at the end of the fiscal year due to end-of-year accounting adjustments when pledged expenditure not included so far will be added to the closing statements.

Kuwait has been projecting a deficit in each of the past 11 fiscal years because it calculates oil income at a highly conservative price.

However, it ended 10 of those years with a huge surplus and is headed for a windfall exceeding 20 billion dollars for this year.

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Parliament in the oil-rich Gulf state last month approved a 104-billion dollar development plan for the next four years, starting April 1, that includes a large number of mega-projects.

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