MUSCAT, NOV 20 – The increase in the total government revenues reached over RO 7.949 billion by the end of September this year against RO 7.754 billion during the same period last year. According to figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the deficit during the nine-month period stood at RO 1.545 billion. While net oil revenue fell by 3.3 per cent to reach RO 4.603 billion, revenue from the corporate income jumped by a record 39.6 per cent to reach RO 580.2 million against RO 463 million during the corresponding period last year.
NCSI figures, released this month, also show that other revenues posted significant rise of 35.9 per cent totaling RO 1.231 billion during the period from January to September. At the same time, total public expenditure fell by 1.8 per cent with a total of RO 9.494 billion, net loans registered a decrease of 13.9 per cent to reach RO 1.306 billion. Net local loans saw a massive fall of 50 per cent to RO 200 million.
FALL IN DEFICIT
According to the recent Financial Stability Report issued by the Central Bank Oman, the fiscal deficit showed a steady decline from RO 3.76 billion in 2017 to RO 2.65 billion in 2018, mainly due to the significant recovery in oil prices. This reduced the overall deficit by 5.1 percentage points of GDP to reach 8.7 per cent of GDP in 2018. “The non-hydrocarbon primary fiscal deficit, however, increased by about RO 244 million in 2018, from 41.9 per cent to 42.3 per cent of non- hydrocarbon GDP,” the report points out.
Annual growth rate accelerated from 7.3 per cent in 2017 to 12 per cent in 2018, the highest annual growth rate since 2012. In 2018 the Omani current account witnessed its biggest annual improvement since 1980. The current account deficit dropped by RO 2.55 billion, from RO 4.22 billion to RO 1.67 billion, and its ratio to GDP fell by 10 percentage points, from 15.5 per cent to only 5.5 per cent. The non- hydrocarbon current account deficit, however, rose by RO 570 million to reach RO 12.16 billion (64.1 per cent of non-hydrocarbon GDP) in 2018.
Oil prices recovered rapidly throughout 2018. The average steadily increased from $55.60 a barrel in December 2017 to a peak of $80.20 a barrel in December 2018. The weighted average price for Oman crude oil jumped to $69.79 per barrel in 2018, which was 36 per cent higher than its values in 2017 ($51.26) jumped by 36 per cent during 2018, from to reach $69.79 per barrel during 2018.
Domestic production of natural gas significantly increased by 12.1 per cent between 2017 and 2018. This is the largest annual increase in production since 2008.