EconSource: Kuwait Sees Budget Deficit Jumping by 50 Percent in 2016-17
Kuwait’s Finance Ministry said Thursday that the country’s 2016-17 draft budget forecasts a deficit of 12.2 billion dinars ($40.2 billion), an increase of almost 50 percent compared to the previous year.

The 2015-16 budget, which was approved by parliament last July, envisaged a deficit of 8.18 billion dinars.The Ministry expects revenues of 7.4 billion dinars and expenditures of 18.9 billion dinars. It said revenues would cover only 71 percent of state salaries and associated costs, which are estimated at 10.4 billion dinars. The ministry did not say how the deficit would be financed, however the government is likely to resort to borrowing from state reserve funds. Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah called last week for budget cuts and better management of spending to cope with declining revenues resulting from lower oil prices. [Reuters, 1/28/2016]
Egypt’s budget deficit edged up to 4.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first five months of the current fiscal year, compared to 4.4 percent in the same period last year, due to a surge in subsidies and debt service. Data from the Ministry of Finance showed an EGP 34 billion ($4.34 billion) increase in revenues from July to November compared to an EGP 57.6 billion ($7.35 billion) rise in expenditures, leading to a deficit of EGP 138.5 billion ($17.7 billion). Wages and employee compensations, which contributed to almost a third of expenses, increased by about 6 percent in the period. Subsidies and social benefits contributed a fifth to expenses with a 39 percent increase. A hike in sales tax collections drove up tax revenues by 23 percent. [Ahram Online, 1/27/2016]
Bahrain is working with banks on a potential re-tap of a dollar-denominated two-part bond issued late last year, sources said on Wednesday. Bahrain is working with the same five banks – Bank ABC, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, HSBC and JPMorgan – that arranged its $1.5 billion bond in November, which was split between five- and ten-year portions paying 5.875 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Any potential re-tap could happen within the next two to three months. Under a tap transaction, a new deal (in effect a copy of an existing bond with the same terms and conditions) is issued. The pricing is adjusted to reflect the market performance between the issuances. Taps are rare in the Middle East, with only a handful in recent years, but the structure could benefit Bahrain due to the speed at which the kingdom could access the market rather than waiting for new documentation to be drawn up for a separate issue. [Reuters, 1/28/2016]
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and Bahrain’s Prime Minister Emir Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa agreed on Thursday to relaunch the Tunis harbor mega-project, Essebsi’s Spokesman Moez Sinaoui announced. The project, which is funded by Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group, will cost about 7 billion Tunisian dinars and is expected to create 16,000 jobs. During the meeting, Al Khalifa also affirmed Bahrain’s interest in developing economic, trade, and investment cooperation with Tunisia. Essebsi arrived in Manama on Wednesday following a visit to Kuwait. [TAP, 1/28/2016]
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