Growing trade with Qatar boosts Oman’s non-oil exports

Muscat - 

Oman’s non-oil exports recorded a robust growth in the first seven months of this year as strong demand from Qatar lifted overall value of the sultanate’s exports and re-exports.

The sultanate’s non-oil exports surged more than 30 per cent to RO2.38bn during January-July period of 2018 against RO1.82bn recorded in the same period a year ago. Oman’s non-oil exports to Qatar jumped by 178 per cent to RO254.6mn in the first seven months of this year from RO91.7mn in the previous year, the statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) showed.

Qatar has emerged as the second biggest destination for Oman’s non-oil shipments after the UAE which continued to remain the largest non-oil trading partner of the sultanate.

Dr Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist of Oman Investment Fund said, “It is a welcome boost for Omani exports and re-exports. I believe the main reason for such surge in exports to Qatar is that Qatar is increasingly using Omani ports for handling its foreign trade operations.”

He said apart from the rising trade flows towards Qatar, there could be additional benefits for Oman such as a substantial rise in logistics services and transportation activities with overall positive effects on the Omani economy.

Oman’s exports to the UAE increased 15.8 per cent to RO471.1mn in the first seven months of this year, while exports to Saudi Arabia decreased to RO291.5mn from RO292.2mn in the same period a year ago.

“It appears that Oman’s trade with other GCC countries, except Qatar, has not expanded substantially for past few years because all these economies are growing at a slower pace compared to the period before 2015, due to oil price weakness. Nevertheless the outlook for the Oman-Qatar trade is different due to the blockade and the huge Qatari demand related to the preparations of the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” Scacciavillani said.

Oman’s total re-exports grew 5.8 per cent to RO1.04bn in January-July period of 2018 compared to RO990mn in the corresponding period of 2017.

While re-exports to Qatar jumped four times to RO219.3mn this year from just RO54.7mn last year, re-exports to the UAE dropped 27.2 per cent to RO236.2mn.

“The World Cup is currently the main growth driver sustaining Qatari imports and it is highly likely that Omani exports to Qatar will keep on growing for next three years as Qatar boosts construction projects and all other activities essential for the successful management of the most popular sports event in the world,” Scacciavillani added.

On the other hand, Oman’s total merchandise imports rose 6.7 per cent to RO5.82bn in the first seven months of this year against RO5.45bn in the same period of last year.

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