Most Gulf oil exporters will enjoy larger budget surpluses this year than previously thought because crude oil prices have rebounded, though a weak global economic outlook will limit GDP growth rates, according to a Reuters poll.
Saudi Arabia is now expected to book a 2012 budget surplus of 15 percent of gross domestic product, above the 13.2 percent predicted in July's poll.
Inflation in the Gulf will be slightly more moderate in 2012 than analysts previously expected, the poll showed.
Living costs in Saudi Arabia will rise 5.0 percent instead of the 4.9 percent expected in July, Reuters quoted analysts as saying. Since the previous poll was conducted in July, the price of Brent crude climbed to nearly $ 118 per barrel in mid-September from $ 98. It has since retreated to $ 110 per barrel, partly because of signs that the global economy is weakening.
Analysts believe current levels will allow Gulf countries to strengthen their fiscal positions further, despite their heavy government spending programs.
The poll of 18 analysts, conducted this month, found them raising their 2012 budget surplus forecasts for five of the six members of the GCC.
“The rebound in oil prices over the past few months has helped the fiscal outlook. At current oil prices, almost all GCC countries will run large budget surpluses this year,” said Daniel Kaye, senior economist at National Bank of Kuwait, told Reuters.
From : Arabnews