Monday, June 7, 2010

Kuwait foreign assets soar to 277 billion dollars

Foreign assets of Kuwait swells at the end of fiscal up from 238 billion dollars year earlier.

KUWAIT CITY - The foreign assets of OPEC member Kuwait swelled to 277 billion dollars at the end of the fiscal year to March 31, up from 238 billion dollars a year earlier, the Al-Jarida newspaper said Friday.
The assets are held in two state-owned funds, the Reserve Fund for Future Generations (RFFG) whose assets grew to 220 billion dollars on March 31 up on 196 billion dollars the previous year.
The second fund is the General State Reserve with 57 billion dollars at the end of the last fiscal year up from 42 billion dollars, Al-Jarida said.
Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shamali gave a briefing on Kuwait's financial postion to parliament at a secret session on Thursday and declined to reveal any figures to reporters.
Kuwaiti foreign investments, which were estimated to have soared to a record 300 billion dollars in 2008, were severely affected by the global economic crisis.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its 2009 World Investment Report that Kuwait sovereign wealth fund assets shrank by 94 billion dollars last year due to the economic meltdown.
But KIA categorically denied the report without providing any figures.
By law, 10 percent of Kuwait's total income is transferred into the RFFG every year regardless of whether the budget is in surplus or deficit.
The Gulf state has posted a budget surplus in each of the past 11 fiscal years, amounting to around 140 billion dollars.
In the last fiscal year, the emirate posted a preliminary budget surplus of 28.2 billion dollars.
Kuwait says it sits on 10 percent of global crude reserves and pumps around 2.3 million barrels per day. It has a citizen population of 1.1 million, besides 2.35 million foreign residents.

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