Monetary & Economic Indicators – (January-March 2019)

The quarterly statistical bulletin of the Central Bank of Kuwait (January to March 2019) published on its web page mentions some economic and monetary indicators whose developments deserve follow up and documentation. For example, the total population in Kuwait has reached 4.664 million as of the end of the first quarter of this year, which is about 42 thousand more than the figure recorded at the end of last year. This means that the quarterly annual growth rate of the population has reached about 0.9%, which will reach about 3.6%, if calculated on an annual basis.

The bulletin also indicates that balance of trade -Commodity exports minus commodity imports- achieved KD 2.384 billion surplus in the first quarter of 2019, a -14.6% decline compared to the surplus in the 4th quarter of last year. Kuwait commodity exports during this quarter scored about KD 4.945 billion of which 91.4% were oil exports. The value of commodity imports -excluding the military- scored about KD 2.562 billion. Kuwait achieved surplus in the first quarter of last year (2018) by about KD 2.323 billion; it increased to about KD 2.645 billion in the second quarter, KD 3.139 billion in the third quarter and then declined to KD 2.790 billion in the fourth quarter. This means that the balance of trade in 2018 achieved a surplus of about KD 10.897 billion, indicating that Kuwait’s commodity exports reached KD 21.726 billion, of which about 90.9% was oil exports. This surplus is higher by 67.8% than its counterpart in 2017 which was in the amount of KD 6.495 billion. The value of commodity imports in 2018 scored about KD 10.829 billion. This year’s surplus is expected to score KD 9.536 billion, which is associated with the stability of the oil prices and production, and there is no guarantee that this assumption to be realized.

Consumers’ prices during the first quarter of this year increased slightly by 0.1%. Their average scored 113.4 (2013=100), rising from 113.3 in the fourth quarter of last year. This is due to the impact of the rise in the prices of education from 119.6 to 120.7 (+0.9%).

The bulletin indicates a rise in the weighted interest rates of balances on deposits from about 1.770% in the fourth quarter of last year to 1.857% in the first quarter of this year, a quarterly increase rate by 4.9%. While the weighted interest rates of balances on loans continued to decline from about 4.832% to about 4.827% for the same period, i.e. a quarterly decline by -0.1%.

Private Banks’ deposits with local banks reached about KD 37.144 billion, with a slight rise from KD 36.852 billion at the end of 2018, or 0.8% quarterly increase. Finally, domestic banks’ demands on the private sector rose to KD 39.252 billion up from KD 38.670 billion at the end of last year, a quarterly rise rate by 1.5%.