Oman’s nominal GDP contracts 4% in 2019: CBO

Muscat: The Sultanate’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined four per cent in 2019, the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) revealed here on Monday, citing preliminary national accounts data. This compares with a nominal GDP growth of 12.3 per cent in 2018

The nominal contraction in 2019 was driven by shrinkages in the contributions of the petroleum and non-petroleum sectors, which had contracted by 8.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively, the apex bank said.

“The contraction in the petroleum sector was contributed by both crude oil and natural gas, which declined by 9.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively. The decline in non-petroleum industrial activities and services activities by 0.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, led to a contraction in the non-petroleum sector,” the Central Bank noted in a review of banking and monetary developments during March 2020.

Agriculture and fishing activities, on the other hand, registered “impressive” nominal growth of 7.4 per cent in 2019, according to the CBO report.

Significantly, the price of Omani crude averaged $64.4 per barrel during the first quarter of 2020, which was higher by 5.6 per cent over the corresponding average of Q1 2019. The average has since plummeted in the wake an unprecedented slump in global demand amid a glut in supply.

Global efforts to cut output by the OPEC+ alliance of oil producers, which includes the Sultanate of Oman, have since helped shore up international prices. DME Oman, the Sultanate’s crude benchmark, gained $0.43 per barrel to settle at $31.16 per barrel in trading on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange on Monday for July 2020 delivery. Prices have rallied since April 1, when the global production cuts agreed by the OPEC+ alliance came into effect.

Oman’s daily crude production averaged 998,300 barrels during the first quarter of 2020, up 2.9 per cent from the corresponding average of Q1 2019.