FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, KUWAIT’S OIL REVENUES WILL NOT COVER SALARIES, SUBSIDIES

Written by on November 25, 2020

WHEN KUWAIT EMERGED FROM A MONTHS-LONG CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN, HUNDREDS OF KUWAITIS FLOCKED TO REOPENED STORES, THE LINES CLOGGING MALLS, SNAKING THROUGH HALLWAYS AND SPILLING ONTO SIDEWALKS.

BUT UNLIKE MUCH OF THE WORLD, WHERE LONG LINES FORMED FOR DONATED FOOD, KUWAITIS WERE WAITING TO BUY CARTIER JEWELLERY.

THE JEWELLERY-STORE RUSH BY KUWAIT’S LONG-CODDLED CITIZENS IS A SYMPTOM OF A LOOMING DISASTER. KUWAIT, ONE OF THE WORLD’S WEALTHIEST COUNTRIES, IS FACING A DEBT CRISIS. THE PANDEMIC HAS SENT THE PRICE OF OIL CRASHING TO ALL-TIME LOWS AND PUSHED THE PETROSTATE TOWARDS A RECKONING WITH ITS LONGTIME LARGESSE, JUST AS A PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION APPROACHES IN DECEMBER.

RECENTLY, RATINGS AGENCY MOODY’S DOWNGRADED KUWAIT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITS HISTORY. THE FINANCE MINISTER WARNED THAT SOON THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO PAY SALARIES. KUWAIT’S NATIONAL BANK SAID THE COUNTRY’S DEFICIT COULD HIT 40 PERCENT OF ITS GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) THIS YEAR, THE HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE THE FINANCIAL DEVASTATION OF THE 1990 IRAQI INVASION AND SUBSEQUENT GULF WAR.


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