Foreign investments in Sultanate up 12pc in 2018

Muscat: Foreign investment in the Sultanate registered a significant rise of 12.1 per cent to reach RO19.969 billion at the end of 2018 compared to RO 17.806 billion in the previous year.

According to the latest Foreign Investment Survey conducted by the National Centre for Statistics and Information, there has been noticeable growth in foreign investment size, at both the direct and indirect levels.

The growth, says the report, “is supported by well-informed government policies, legislations and economic incentives at the best global standards and practices”.

Foreign direct investments (FDI) represented 63.6 per cent of the total foreign investment in 2018, while other foreign investments, which includes trade credit, loans and project finance, was 32.6 per cent.

The share of foreign portfolio investment and financial derivatives were 3.7 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

The report points out that the flow of foreign investments could “also be ascribed to the regional and international prestigious position occupied by the Sultanate as an attractive environment for investments, together with the strategic location, advanced infrastructure, active and safe economic climate and transparent fiscal systems.

The oil and gas exploration sector was the dominant recipient of foreign investment at 48.8 per cent with a sum of RO9.736 billion in 2018 compared to RO 7,519 million in 2017 and RO 5,267.2 million in 2016.

It was followed by financial intermediation (25.1 per cent), manufacturing (14.1 per cent) and transport, storage and communication (3.9 per cent).

At the same time, FDI in the country stood at RO 12.694 billion in 2018 compared to RO 10.662 in 2017, an increase of 19 per cent.

While the oil and gas exploration sector contributed 67.3 per cent of the total FDI in 2018 with and amount of 8.540.1 million, the financial intermediation and manufacturing sectors received 11.4 per cent and 9.1 per cent.

Although RO12.694 billion FDI arrived from a total of 50 countries, just nine countries accounted for the major part of 86.9 per cent, the report points out.

The United Kingdom was the major source with RO6.624 billion in 2018 followed by the US with RO 1.553 billion and the UAE with RO 1.033 billion. Other top investors were Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Netherlands, India and Switzerland.