Source AP ©

Iraq's budget for 2009 sets record

Iraq's Finance Ministry on Wednesday said that the country's 2009 budget will stand at a record at US$78.88 billion.

Ministry spokesman Adnan Abdul-Rahman said the budget was based on an average oil price of US$80 a barrel next year.

Abdul-Rahman added that US$60.26 billion will go to operational expenses, while US$18.62 billion will go to investment and improvements in infrastructure. The budget is expected to be the largest ever submitted.

In July, Iraq added US$21 billion to its 2008 budget, bringing the total budget to around US$70 billion, thanks to higher oil revenues.

Oil revenues represent more than 90 percent of the country's national capital budget.

On Wednesday, oil for October delivery rose US$3.26 to US$94.41 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange mid-afternoon in Singapore. Overnight, the contract fell US$4.56 to settle at US$91.15, after dropping US$5.47 on Monday.

At one point Tuesday, oil touched US$90.51 a barrel, its lowest since Feb. 8, and down 39 percent from a record US$147.27 on July 11.

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