Kuwait’s economy grew modestly last year, the government said on Wednesday, contradicting an earlier estimate by the International Monetary Fund that gross domestic product shrank because of lower oil output.
The widely differing numbers underline the difficulty of finding reliable economic statistics in the Gulf, where many governments have not developed extensive systems for collecting data and disclose information only erratically.
In its first estimate of inflation-adjusted GDP last year, Kuwait’s Central Statistical Bureau said it grew 1.5 per cent, slowing from 6.6 per cent in 2012. The 2012 figure was revised from the government’s previous estimate of 8.3 per cent.
In a report in September after consultations with Kuwaiti authorities, the IMF had said Kuwait’s economy shrank 0.2 per cent last year, underperforming strong growth in most other Gulf Arab oil exporting countries.
The downturn was mainly due to a 1.8 per cent drop in oil-related GDP, according to the IMF.
The Kuwaiti statistics office did not explain its differences with the IMF or the revisions of its data, but said it had “made serious efforts towards refining the data collection and processing procedures, and estimation methods for the compilation of comprehensive National Income Accounts…”
It estimated inflation-adjusted oil sector output fell only 0.8 per cent in 2013 while the non-hydrocarbon sector grew 5.9 percent, double the IMF’s estimate.