‘With Kuwaiti crude prices expected to be $22.8-25.1 [a barrel] with a middle-level forecast of $23.5 [a barrel], and assuming OPEC production is held back, we expect an appreciable surplus,’ a senior NBKofficial said in early December.

Total revenues in 2002/3 are forecast to reach KD 5,100 million-5,570 million ($16,422 million-17,935 million), while total expenditure is projected at KD 4,900 million-5,100 million ($15,778 million-16,422 million), according to NBK.

The Finance Ministry is expected to post a half-year net budget surplus of KD 705 million ($2,270 million) for fiscal 2002/3, NBK said in a 30 November report.’The result reflects a slight deterioration from a year ago, with a surplus of 12 per cent. A higher spending level and a slight decrease in revenues led to the decline,’ the report said.

The 2002/03 budget had projected total revenues of KD 1,761 million ($5,469 million) and total expenditure of KD 2,714 million ($8,428 million), leaving a deficit of KD 953 million ($2,960 million). The figures were drawn up on a pro-rata annual basis, after the government decided to change its fiscal year from July-June to April-March.