January 06, 2010

Kuwaitis stepped up borrowing as a decade-long oil boom through 2008 fuelled growth. Like spenders worldwide, Kuwaitis used bank loans to pay for homes, cars and vacations and many struggled to meet payments. The issue of bailing out debtors led to political rows in the oil-rich country, which has run a budget surplus for the past decade.

“You are rewarding careless financial behavior, depleting limited resources and distributing it to people just to consume,” Jassim al-Saadoun, head of Al-Shall Economic Consultants in Kuwait, said by telephone before the vote. “It’s a bad moral message.”

Kuwait is the fifth-biggest OPEC producer. Its benchmark stock index dropped 10 percent in 2009.