Oil and Public Finance – January 2020

By the end of January 2020, the 10th month of the current fiscal year 2019/2020 ended, and due to the unavailability of Kuwaiti oil prices for the first half of the month, average price for Kuwaiti oil per barrel was estimated based on its price differences with Brent crude prices and scored US$ 65.7 per barrel for January, which is higher by US$ 10.7 per barrel or 19.5% than the hypothetical price estimated in the current budget at US$ 55 per barrel. The average price for the Kuwaiti oil barrel for the first 10 months of the current fiscal year scored US$ 64.8, which is lower than the average Kuwaiti oil price for the past fiscal year 2018/2019 by 5.4% that was at US$ 68.5. The average price for January is lower by 4.1% than the average price for the past fiscal year and lower by US$ 14.3 per barrel than the budget’s parity price at US$ 80 per barrel, according to the Ministry of Finance after deducting 10% from total revenues to the future generations’ reserve.

Kuwait is supposed to have achieved actual oil revenues in January of about KD 1.4 billion. Assuming that production and prices would continue at the current levels -an unrealistic assumption- Kuwait’s oil revenues for the entire current fiscal year would score nearly KD 16.1 billion, after deducting production cost for the entire year. This is KD 2.2 billion higher than the estimated for the current budget in the amount of KD 13.9 billion. Adding KD 1.9 billion in non-oil revenues, total budget revenues for the current fiscal year would score KD 18 billion.

Comparing this figure with the expenditures allocations in the amount of KD 22.5 billion, it would be likely that the public budget would score a deficit by KD 4.5 billion. However, ten months are only good enough to be used as an indicator to the hypothetical deficit of the budget. The actual deficit will be a variable subject to the movement of oil prices and production levels during the remaining part of the year, as prices are currently at a low level because of Coronavirus, and is also affected by the difference between the actual and the estimated expenditures by the end of the current fiscal year.