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Kuwait Economy

    Economy—overview: Kuwait is a small and relatively open economy with proved crude oil reserves of about 94 billion barrels—10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 90% of export revenues, and 75% of government income. Kuwait lacks water and has practically no arable land, thus preventing development of agriculture. With the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported. The economy improved moderately in 1994-97, but in 1998 suffered from the large decline in world oil prices. The Kuwaiti cabinet approved a reform package in January 1999, including reducing subsidies and increasing taxes on large consumer goods. Nevertheless, Kuwait anticipates continuing budget deficits for the next few years. Kuwait is attracting foreign oil companies to develop fields in the northern part of the country.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$43.7 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: -5% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,700 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 0%
    industry: 55%
    services: 45% (1996)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1% (1997 est.)

    Labor force: 1.1 million (1996 est.)
    note: 68% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: government and social services 50%, services 40%, industry and agriculture 10% (1996 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 1.8% (official 1996 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $8.1 billion
    expenditures: $14.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY98/99 budget est.)

    Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, desalination, food processing, construction materials, salt, construction

    Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 23 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 23 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: practically no crops; fish

    Exports: $14.3 billion (f.o.b., 1997)

    Exports—commodities: oil and refined products, fertilizers

    Exports—partners: Japan 24%, India 16%, US 13%, South Korea 11%, Singapore 8% (1997)

    Imports: $7.8 billion (f.o.b., 1996)

    Imports—commodities: food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing

    Imports—partners: US 22%, Japan 15%, UK 13%, Germany 8%, Italy 6% (1997)

    Debt—external: $7.3 billion (1997 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $27.6 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Kuwaiti dinar (KD) = 1,000 fils

    Exchange rates: Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US$1—0.3018 (January 1999), 0.3047 (1998), 0.3033 (1997), 0.2994 (1996), 0.2984 (1995), 0.2976 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)