Yemen's fuel bill exceeds oil export earnings in 2013 -cbank

ADEN Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:28am EST

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ADEN Feb 10 (Reuters) - Yemen's rising fuel import bill surged past its declining revenues from oil exports in 2013, central bank data showed on Monday, putting increasing pressure on government finances.

Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, relies on oil exports to finance up to 70 percent of its budget.

But frequent attacks on its oil infrastructure over the past two years has slashed exports and led to a rise in fuel imports for the domestic market.

Yemen's oil product imports more than doubled to 18.4 million barrels in 2013 at a cost of $2.93 billion, while the government's oil revenues slumped by $833 million to $2.66 billion, according to a report published by Yemen's central bank.

Its oil pipelines have been blown up many times by tribesmen or Islamist militants since long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down in 2011.

This has piled unprecedented pressure on Yemen's already shaky public finances and made it more difficult for the cash-strapped government to restore order.

The report said the government's share of oil output was 24 million barrels in 2013, down from 31 million in 2012.

Yemen's average oil export price was $114.59 a barrel last year, up from $111 in 2012, the bank said. (Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Daniel Fineren and Jane Baird)

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