Fitch Maintains Kuwait's 'AA-' Rating with Stable Outlook | Kanebridge News
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Fitch Maintains Kuwait’s ‘AA-‘ Rating with Stable Outlook

Fitch Ratings has reaffirmed Kuwait’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AA-‘ and maintained a Stable Outlook.

Mon, Mar 18, 2024 2:57pmGrey Clock 2 min

Key factors influencing Kuwait’s credit rating:

Foundational strengths and challenges: Kuwait’s ‘AA-‘ credit rating draws strength from its robust fiscal and external balance sheets, which are among the strongest across Fitch-rated nations.

This favorable standing, however, faces limitations due to the country’s heavy reliance on oil revenues, an extensive welfare system, and a large public sector, which pose sustainability concerns in the long term.

Additionally, the political landscape in Kuwait complicates efforts to address enduring fiscal and economic challenges, including the passage of key legislation to permit debt issuance and define government financing strategies.

Exceptional financial reserves: Kuwait boasts impressive fiscal and external balance sheets, with its sovereign net foreign asset position predicted to average 529% of GDP in 2024-25. This figure significantly surpasses that of other Fitch-rated sovereigns and stands more than ten times the median for ‘AA’ rated countries.

A substantial portion of these assets is managed by the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) through the Future Generations Fund, alongside the assets of the General Reserve Fund (GRF), the government’s main treasury account.

 

Persistent political challenges

The dynamic between Kuwait’s elected parliament and its appointed cabinet frequently results in ministerial resignations and the dissolution of parliament. The most recent dissolution in February anticipates elections on April 4th.

Predictions suggest a parliament composition similar to prior elections, with a majority critical of government policies. This ongoing political division is expected to continue hindering policymaking in Kuwait.

 

Government reforms in question

Despite the introduction of a technocratic cabinet by the new Emir, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and a four-year government program aiming at fiscal improvements, skepticism remains regarding the implementation of these plans. These include enhancing non-oil revenue, restructuring subsidies, and encouraging private sector participation, which echo the ambitions of previous administrations that faced parliamentary gridlock.

 

Economic Projections and Concerns

With assumptions of passing a liquidity law in the fiscal year ending March 2026, Kuwait’s government debt to GDP ratio is expected to increase, though remaining significantly lower than the ‘AA’ median forecast for 2025. Despite this projected increase, Kuwait’s debt levels are anticipated to stay manageable, underpinned by its substantial financial reserves.

Kuwait’s economic forecasts are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices and production levels. The country’s budget outcomes could dramatically shift with changes in these factors. Moreover, Kuwait’s governance, influenced by its political stability and regulatory quality, plays a crucial role in its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) scoring, highlighting the importance of governance in its overall rating.

 

Rating outlook and sensitivities

Fitch’s analysis outlines both negative and positive rating sensitivities. Factors that could lead to a downgrade include sustained fiscal pressures and significant deterioration in fiscal and external positions.

Conversely, evidence of effective long-term fiscal management and transparent government funding strategies could result in a positive rating action. The final rating reflects adjustments for structural and public finance challenges, underscoring the complexity of Kuwait’s economic and political landscape.



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AACCI’s Strategic Vision for Enhancing Australia-Arab Trade Relations

The Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) is fostering robust trade relations between Australia and Arab countries.

Mon, May 20, 2024 5 min

In an era where global trade and international relationships are more crucial than ever, the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) serves as a bridge, for cooperation and growth between Australia and the Arab nations. Led by its Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Hage, the AACCI has taken on projects aimed at strengthening relationships and fostering development across borders.

This exclusive interview explores the initiatives implemented by the AACCI to expand its presence and influence in the region including the significant establishment of a new operational hub in Dubai. We also delve into how the Chamber embraces education through training and research, its participation in major international exhibitions, and its active support for both large corporations and small businesses.

Looking towards tomorrow, Mr. Mohamed shares his vision for broadening AACCI’s reach emphasizing the importance of the on-ground operations and cultural understanding in building business connections.

-Could you elaborate on the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry, including its objectives and main areas of focus?

The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) plays a fundamental role, in promoting business partnerships and trade between Australia and the 22 Arab countries. As a member of the Union of Arab Chambers affiliated with the Arab League, AACCI focuses on strengthening trade and investment ties, across these countries.

To nurture these connections effectively AACCI has outlined four objectives: facilitating trade and investment activities, certifying documents, educating stakeholders, and offering marketing assistance.

Our initiatives are designed not only to empower trade and investment endeavors but to also ensure engagement with specific sectors that drive these activities. With an understanding of the characteristics, strengths and preferences of each country, AACCI prides itself on its specialized knowledge customized to suit the distinct business environments of these nations.

– As the AACCI approaches its 50th anniversary, what have been some of the key milestones and achievements?

I believe one of AACCI’s accomplishments is the opportunities it has opened up for numerous Australian companies to access markets, in the region. Moreover, the strong bilateral trade relationship that has developed between Australia and the 22 Arab nations over the five decades has led to trade transactions amounting to billions of dollars.

This extensive trade covers industries such as food and beverages, luxury hotels and many more services. Each successive generation, within AACCI has built upon the foundation laid by its predecessors enriching their knowledge base and expanding their range of services.

– How does the AACCI leverage its diverse leadership team to enhance trade and investment opportunities between Australia and the Arab region?

Since taking on the role of chairman, my main focus has been on expanding our presence in the region. This led to the idea of opening an office in Dubai, which symbolizes our dedication to deepening our engagement in that area. We have successfully secured the license to open our first office in Dubai after 50 years, which will serve as a gateway to the GCC and North Africa.

I strongly believe that building two-way trade and investment ties requires more than a degree of business connectivity; it demands having local representatives present in each region. With trends emphasizing strategies the value of face-to-face engagements cannot be overstated.

Setting up offices in the region is essential for the Chamber to truly serve as a link and support system for business activities. Ultimately this expansion will bring benefits to our members and partners by providing them with access, to dynamic markets and diverse prospects.

– Can you discuss the significance of AACCI’s role in cultural and business exchanges between the two regions?

The importance of understanding cultures in our operations cannot be overstated. To address this, we have included a training platform within the Chamber to strengthen our cultural awareness initiatives. This new program offers our members access to modules on our website focusing on global business practices.

Furthermore, we have set up a Center of Excellence specifically dedicated to researching areas like food security and cultural awareness. These research endeavors are essential for promoting knowledge between the two regions.

By combining the resources of the Center of Excellence, our training resources, and the forthcoming local office in Dubai, we’re providing cultural awareness not only in the region but also in Australia. This approach ensures that our members are well equipped and knowledgeable boosting their effectiveness and involvement, in markets.

– What is the objective of your on-ground presence at conferences and events?

Participating in conferences and on ground events is very important for increasing awareness in industries like construction where knowledge of opportunities in the Arab world may not be widespread. When we see projects such as NEOM or notice the construction boom happening in the region it becomes important for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to highlight these prospects. By taking part in large scale expos such as the Sydney Build Expo we position ourselves at the forefront of these advancements.

Our presence at these events enables interaction giving entrepreneurs a chance to visit our booth engage in discussions and learn more about the region in an approachable and personalized manner. This plays a role in simplifying the process and making opportunities concrete.

– With such a diverse membership base, how does AACCI tailor its services to meet the needs of both large corporations and small startups?

When it comes to discussing business it’s important to grasp how influence and vision come into play. Businesses looking to expand are often motivated by a desire to achieve something whether they are big companies or small enterprises. Small businesses typically aim to raise their brands profile while larger corporations seek recognition and market dominance.

Standing out in this area can be tough mainly because the key driving force is the passion to showcase the brand and products on a platform. This determination serves as a motivator for entrepreneurs.

At the Chamber we make a point of recognizing the needs of both big and small players by understanding each members individual situation. We ensure that every member is well informed about the opportunities and risks that come with expanding. For small businesses, this means being aware of the financial demands, while large businesses are advised on the necessity of both financial and emotional resilience.

– How does AACCI plan to expand or evolve its services in the coming years to further support its members?

The importance of having resources on the ground cannot be emphasized enough. Having local staff is key to establishing connections with the communities we serve. Without a presence in the area staying updated on events and activities becomes quite challenging.

This is why, as I’ve mentioned before, we have established an office in Dubai, staffed with personnel dedicated to supporting our members. This local office will help us effectively bridge the gap between Australia and the Arab world. And our members will benefit from insights and assistance from someone who truly knows the landscape.

In Australia we have equipped offices throughout the country staffed by individuals who play a significant role in our operations. This strong domestic network complements our efforts ensuring that we provide support to our members both locally and globally. This strategic approach is crucial, for nurturing business relationships and fostering continental understanding.

 

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