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Kuwait Q2 trade surplus narrows on oil prices

Kuwait, November 29, 2012

After soaring to a record-high of KD7.3 billion ($25.8 billion) in the first quarter of the year, Kuwait’s trade surplus narrowed to KD 6.6 billion in the second quarter on lower oil export receipts and a rising imports bill, a report said.

Nevertheless, at KD1.1 billion higher than a year ago, this is still the second highest surplus ever recorded, and is estimated at 13 per cent of annual 2012 GDP, according to the latest Kuwait Economic Brief issued by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK).

Steady oil prices should support exports and large surpluses ahead, while strong imports point to robust growth in the economy, particularly in the consumer sector, the brief said.

Oil export revenues dropped by KD0.5 billion in the second quarter to just under KD8 billion, as Kuwait export crude prices fell by $11 per barrel in the second quarter.

Although oil exports recorded annual growth of some 18 per cent, this was lower than the rates recorded in the past year. The second half of 2012 should see little change in oil export receipts as oil prices have remained almost flat, according to the brief.

Non-oil exports also contracted at a similar rate, and remained under KD0.6 billion in 2Q12. This was mainly driven by a fall in exports of ethylene products, as petrochemical prices were likely impacted by lower oil prices. Year-on-year, however, non-oil exports were up by some KD0.1 billion.

After slipping slightly in the first quarter, imports recovered in the second quarter, growing by almost KD0.1 billion to KD1.9 billion, the brief pointed out.

Yearly growth in imports also accelerated to 15 per cent, the fastest rate since the first quarter of 2008. This strong growth rate in imports is consistent with the vibrant consumer sector in Kuwait. It also supports our expectation of robust growth in the non-oil sector in the period ahead, the Kuwait Economic Brief said. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Kuwait | NBK | Oil Prices | Imports | trade surplus | Economic Brief |

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