5 pc rise in vegetable exports

Muscat, July 29 – Amid subdued economic activities in the external front, export of Omani vegetable products registered a significant increase last year. However, the value of non-oil exports of Omani origin dropped by 20.1 per cent in 2016, albeit lower than a decline of 27.2 per cent registered in 2015. Data shows that exports of vegetable products witnessed an increase by 5 per cent in 2016, while products of chemical and allied industries accounted for the largest share of 24.1 per cent in the same period.
“Non-oil exports suffered during the second consecutive year in 2016 due to subdued economic activity in the major destinations, including lacklustre growth in GCC countries and slowdown in China,” points out the Central Bank of Oman in a report.
The broad disaggregated analysis of merchandise exports displays that all components, including crude oil, liquefied natural gas, non-oil exports and re-exports, witnessed contraction, except for refined oils, during 2016.

Crude oil exports contracted by 26.1 per cent in 2016, which was much lower than the 42.3 per cent reduction in 2015.
“Although non-oil exports play a dominant role in accomplishing the accelerated pace of diversification in the economy, their role has become all the more significant for sustainable growth in the economy over the medium-term given the prolonged period of low level of oil prices,” the apex bank said in the report.
The contraction in non-oil exports during 2016 was led by plastic, rubber, and articles thereof with a significant drop of 49.1 per cent, followed by base metals and articles thereof at 21.9 per cent.
Products of chemicals and allied industries as well as mineral products also registered significant declines of 17.5 per cent and 15.8 per cent, respectively.
On the other hand, Oman’s imports from GCC countries declined by just 5.4 per cent during the same period, which exhibits that Omani imports from GCC region constitute the core component and hence, not very elastic.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued to be the major trading partner of Oman in the GCC region, with a share of 59.0 per cent in total non-oil exports, including re-exports to GCC countries, and 89.8 per cent of imports from the GCC countries in 2016. The major destinations of non-oil exports from Oman continue to remain the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, and China with a combined share of over 50 per cent in 2016.
The UAE continued to be the largest destination for Omani non-oil exports with its share increasing to 25.2 per cent in 2016 from 20.8 per cent in 2015.
The share of non-oil exports from Oman to India and China increased to 10.5 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively, in 2016 from 9.1 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, during 2015, while its share to Saudi Arabia dropped to 10.6 per cent from 12.5 per cent during this period.

SAMUEL KUTTY