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Kuwait current account surplus reaches highest in 3 years

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 18: Kuwait’s current account reached its highest surplus in three years in Q1 2018, standing at $5.58 billion, or 17 percent of quarterly GDP, according to a new report from the Central Bank of Kuwait.

According to the report, an increasing trade surplus and higher oil prices served to offset lower investment income and higher remittances. The country’s trade surplus in Q1 rose to KD 3.4 billion ($11.2 billion), compared to KD 2.3 billion ($7.58 billion) the quarter before, which the CBK attributes to higher oil receipts and non-oil exports. Goods imports remained relatively unchanged, with modest growth of approximately 4 percent year-on-year.

Additionally, the Central Bank said that the deficit in the services balance widened to KD 1.9 billion ($6.26 billion), while remittances increased after two consecutive quarters of decline to more than KD 1 billion ($3.3 billion).

The report noted that the increase in outfl ows may be due to uncertainty over the future of expatriate employment, high living costs, increased Kuwaitisation efforts and a proposed remittance tax. Kuwait’s financial account deficit eased to KD 1.4 billion ($4.61 billion) in Q1, compared to KD 4 billion ($13.18 billion) the quarter before.

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