Starting a Business in Kuwait

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Starting a Business in Kuwait

Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world but it is world’s eighth biggest exporter and the tenth largest producer of oil . Kuwait’s government, with the goal of attracting foreign investments to the country, approved a law to regulate Foreign Direct Investments .This law allows foreign investors to own majority capital holdings up to 100% equity if their business activities are in the sectors that the government wants to develop, such as the projects of new infrastructures (water, power energy, drainage and communications).

Economy of Kuwait

The economy of Kuwait is a small but wealthy petroleum-based economy. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world. Non-petroleum industries include financial services. According to the World Bank, Kuwait is the fourth richest country in the world per capita. Kuwait is the second richest GCC country per capita (after Qatar)

The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world

In the past five years, there has been a significant rise in entrepreneurship and small business start-ups in Kuwait. The informal sector is also on the rise, mainly due to the popularity of Instagram businesses. Many Kuwaiti entrepreneurs use the Instagram-based business model.

Kuwait Economic Indicators

Kuwait GDP Growth Rate

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kuwait expanded 2.60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 over the previous quarter.. Kuwait holds the world´s sixth biggest proven reserves of oil as such oil sector accounts for 40 percent of GDP, 90 percent of total exports and 80 percent of state revenues. The services sector constitutes 30 percent of the output. Within services the largest segments are: community, social and personal services (11 percent of GDP); real estate and financial and business services (9 percent) and wholesale and retail trade and restaurants and hotels (8 percent). Manufacturing contributes for 23 percent of the wealth and construction and electricity, gas and water distribution for the remaining 7 percent.

Kuwait GDP Growth Rate
Source: Kuwait Central Statistical Bureau
Kuwait Interest Rate

In Kuwait, interest rate decisions are taken by the Central Bank of Kuwait’s Board of Directors. The official interest rate is the discount rate.

Kuwait Interest Rate
Source: Central Bank of Kuwait
Kuwait Inflation Rate

In Kuwait, the main components of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are: housing (33.2 percent); food and beverages (16.7 percent); furnishing and household equipment (11.4 percent); clothing and footwear (8 percent) and transport (7.5 percent). The index also includes miscellaneous goods and services (5.8 percent); education (4.2 percent); communication (4 percent); recreation and culture (3.9 percent); restaurants and hotels (3.4 percent); health (1.5 percent) and tobacco (0.3 percent).

Kuwait Inflation Rate
Source: Kuwait Central Statistical Bureau
Kuwait Unemployment Rate

In Kuwait, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.

Kuwait Unemployment Rate
Source: SESRIC
Kuwait Government Dept to GDP

Kuwait recorded a government debt equivalent to 14.80 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2018. Generally, Government debt as a percent of GDP is used by investors to measure a country ability to make future payments on its debt, thus affecting the country borrowing costs and government bond yields.

Kuwait Government Debt to GDP
Source: Central Bank of Kuwait
Kuwait Balance of Trade

Kuwait has been recording trade surpluses since 1993 due to shipments of oil (95 percent of total exports). Main imports are: machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and electronics; transport equipment and base metals and articles thereof. Main trading partners are: China (10 percent of total exports and 10 percent of imports), South Korea (18 percent of exports and 7 percent of imports) and United States (8 percent of exports and 12 percent of imports). Others include: India, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait Balance of Trade
Source: Central Bank of Kuwait
Kuwait Currency Dinar

The Kuwaiti dinar is the currency of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti dinar is divided into 1,000 fils. The Kuwaiti dinar was introduced in 1960 to replace the Gulf rupee. In 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the Iraqi dinar replaced the Kuwaiti dinar as the currency. After the war ended, the Kuwaiti dinar was restored as the country’s currency and a new banknote series was introduced.

Kuwait Currency Dinar

Kuwait Stock Market

The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index tracks the performance of all companies listed at the Kuwait Stock Exchange. It is a price-weighted index. The index has a base value of 1000.

Kuwait Stock Market

Kuwait Ease of Doing Business

Kuwait is ranked 83 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The rank of Kuwait improved to 83 in 2019 from 97 in 2018. The Ease of doing business index ranks countries against each other based on how the regulatory environment is conducive to business operationstronger protections of property rights. Economies with a high rank (1 to 20) have simpler and more friendly regulations for businesses.

Kuwait Ease of Doing Business
Source: World Bank
Kuwait Bank Lending Rate

Bank Lending Rate in Kuwait decreased to 4.76 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 from 4.82 percent in the third quarter of 2019.

In Kuwait, the bank lending rate is the average rate of interest charged on loans by commercial banks to private individuals and companies.

Kuwait  Bank Lending Rate
Source: Central Bank of Kuwait
Kuwait Corruption Rank

Kuwait is the 85 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories in the index.

Kuwait Corruption Rank
Source: Transparency International
Kuwait Credit Rating

Standard & Poor’s credit rating for Kuwait stands at AA- with negative outlook. Moody’s credit rating for Kuwait was last set at A1 with stable outlook. Fitch’s credit rating for Kuwait was last reported at AA with stable outlook. In general, a credit rating is used by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other investors to gauge the credit worthiness of Kuwait thus having a big impact on the country’s borrowing costs. This page includes the government debt credit rating for Kuwait as reported by major credit rating agencies.

Al Hamra Tower
Al Hamra Tower

Taxation in Kuwait

Corporate tax Personal income tax VAT or sales tax Social Security Rate for Companies Social Security Rate for Employees
15% 0% 0% 11,5% 8%

How to Start a Business in Kuwait

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