Kuwait fiscal reserves hit record $592 bln

Kuwait's financial reserves defied a slump in oil prices to hit a record $592 billion

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Kuwait's financial reserves defied a slump in oil prices to hit a record 179.2 billion dinars ($592 billion) at the end of the 2014-15 financial year, a report said Thursday.

They grew by $53 billion in the year to March 31, Al-Qabas newspaper reported, citing figures released by Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh to a closed session of parliament last week.

Kuwait normally does not reveal the size of its assets most of which are invested abroad, mainly in Europe and the United States.

The reserves are held in two state funds, the State Reserve Fund and the Reserve Fund for Future Generations.

Both are run by the Kuwait Investment Authority, the Gulf emirate's sovereign wealth fund.

Years of high oil prices have given Kuwait healthy budget surpluses to invest in foreign assets.

The finance minister told parliament last week that despite the sharp drop in oil prices since June last year, the emirate posted a surplus of $13 billion in 2014-15.

He said revenues fell by 21.6 percent to $82.5 billion from the previous year, while spending rose by 11.1 percent to $69.5 billion.

Saleh warned, however, that Kuwait was likely to post a deficit of $23.2 billion in the current fiscal year.

Oil income contributes more than 90 percent of public revenues in Kuwait, which pumps around 2.8 million barrels per day.

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