Kuwait third in terms of foreign exchange reserves in Gulf
KUWAIT CITY, May 22: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has turned down a request from two supply companies to raise the price of subsidized baby milk powder sold for ration card holders by six percent, reports Al-Rai daily quoting reliable sources.
The ministry is said to have rejected the statement submitted by the two companies to justify the raise in price in principle saying it refuses any request to raise the price of any commodity during the month of Ramadan. The sources said this is contrary to the policy of consumer protection.
The sources called the increase in prices, particularly at this time, artificial and said suppliers take advantage because of high demand. The sources noted that the request of the two companies has been deferred until further study, especially since infant milk and nutrients are commodities subject to the provisions of the rules of rationing, and therefore no proposal for the re-pricing of any of its varieties could be dealt with in a traditional manner.
There are considerations in the assessment of such increases, especially as it will open the door for all other companies to benefit from the principle of reciprocity. Meanwhile, the total foreign exchange reserves of the Gulf countries by the end of the first quarter of this year was about 308.9 billion dollars, an increase of about $13.3 billion, compared to about $295.6 billion by the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, reports Al-Qabas daily.
During the first three months of 2018, the total foreign exchange reserves of Gulf countries rose 4.5 percent compared to the end of the fourth quarter of last year. The data issued by the central banks of the GCC countries shows Saudi foreign exchange reserve accounted for 52.2 per cent of the total foreign exchange of the Gulf countries by the end of the first quarter of this year, reaching $161.48 billion of the total foreign exchange of $308.9 billion.
The improvement in foreign exchange follows the increase in oil prices during the last period, mainly as oil prices for the OPEC basket rose by 2.8 per cent during the first three months of this year. The average price of the OPEC basket was about $63.9, compared with 62.1 at the end of December 2017, while prices for the OPEC basket at the end of the first quarter of last year, about $51.
The UAE came second in terms of foreign exchange reserves, which amounted to about $73.8 billion, or 23.9 per cent of the total cash in the Gulf countries, while Kuwait came third, about $32.8 billion, or 10.6 per cent of the total.
The foreign reserves of Qatar were about $32.3 billion, while the foreign exchange reserves of Oman was about $6.99 billion, and about $1.41 billion for Bahrain. The growth in foreign exchange follows growth in the UAE by 5.7 per cent, Kuwait by 5.1 per cent, and by 3.5 per cent for Saudi Arabia, while foreign exchange grew slightly for Qatar by 0.8 per cent. Foreign exchange represents both foreign currency cash balances as well as deposits abroad, while gold reserves or overseas investments are not included.