The value of Kuwait oil exports hit a new record in 2012 driven by a remarkable surge in the country's oil output, a specialized economic report showed Saturday.
"Oil exports also climbed to a record high of KD 31.6 billion in 2012 - up 18 percent on the previous year. This was driven by a 12 percent y/y increase in oil production, as well as a 3 percent y/y rise in Kuwait Export Crude (KEC) prices to USD 109 per barrel," reads a report released by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) Saturday.
"Oil export receipts exceeded KD 8 billion in 1Q12 - the highest level in any single quarter - but eased back in following months in line with oil price movements; by December, the price of KEC receded by some USD 16 per barrel from its peak in March." The data also showed a slight increase in Kuwait's non-oil exports in the corresponding period.
"Non-oil exports edged up to KD 1.6 billion in 2012 (+ 5 percent y/y) on the back of higher 're-exports' and 'other' goods. These were both around KD 0.
2 billion higher than a year ago, with the larger part of the increase occurring in the final quarter of the year.
"Meanwhile, exports of 'ethylene products' were down 30 percent y/y, despite a 4Q12 surge. Their share of total non-oil exports, which constituted a significant plus-50 percent in the previous year, dropped to around one-third." It revealed that Kuwait imports grew by a sluggish 3 percent y/y in 2012 to KD 7.2 billion, compared to an average growth rate of 12 percent over the past decade. Imports had picked up in 4Q12 following three consecutive quarters of decline, but they were down in year-on-year terms in the quarter for the first time in two years. The report pointed out that Kuwait's trade surplus reached an all-time high of KD 25.9 billion in 2012, surpassing the previously set record level of KD 21.2 billion in 2011.
"The surplus, estimated at around 53 percent of annual 2012 GDP, was boosted by a combination of strong exports and comparatively soft imports. This year, we expect the trade surplus to be limited by lower oil prices and a faster pick-up in imports - the latter driven by an improvement in non-oil sector growth." The report, however, expected that the trade surplus would go down in 2013 driven by the plummeting oil prices and swelling imports.
"Softer oil exports - against the backdrop of a looser global oil market - and stronger imports are likely to trim the trade surplus in 2013. We expect to see cuts in Kuwait's oil production from a record average of 3 million barrels per day in 2012, in addition to lower oil prices. Meanwhile, the pace of growth in imports could accelerate this year, as government development projects - coupled with a strong consumer sector - spur growth in non-oil GDP.