“The ratings on the state of Kuwait are supported by the country’s rich resource endowment which, combined with prudent policies, has enabled Kuwait to build very strong external and fiscal balance sheet positions in recent years,” said Luc Marchand, a credit analyst at Standard & Poor’s, in a report on 19 May.

The credit ratings agency also forecast a budget surplus of 12.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009-10, down from about 17.9 per cent in 2008-09.

S&P forecasts that Kuwait’s GDP will contract by about 1 per cent in 2009 because of lower oil prices and Opec quota cuts. The agency forecasts a recovery, reaching about 2.3 per cent, in 2010.