Oman’s budget deficit declines to RO3.2bn in first 10 months

Muscat - 

Helped by a continued recovery in oil prices this year, Oman’s budget deficit decreased more than 33 per cent in the first ten months of 2017.

On the back of a robust growth in oil and gas revenues the sultanate’s budget shortfall declined to RO3.2bn during January-October period of 2017. This is a significant reduction from RO4.8bn budget deficit in the corresponding period of 2016, according to statistics released by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) on Wednesday.

Oman’s total fiscal revenue grew 19.2 per cent to RO6.57bn in the first ten months of 2017 from RO5.51bn a year ago, while total public expenditure rose 5.6 per cent to RO9.42bn during the same period.

Net oil revenue jumped by 32 per cent to RO3.66bn in the first ten months of 2017 from RO2.77bn in the same period a year ago. Gas revenue increased 10.7 per cent to RO1.21bn.

However, income from corporate tax decreased 5.9 per cent to RO338.3mn, while custom duties fell 23.4 per cent to RO185.7mn. Other revenues rose 12.7 per cent to RO1.16bn from RO1.03bn a year earlier, the data showed.

Government’s current expenditure rose 3.2 per cent to RO6.63bn, while investment expenditure was 16.7 per cent higher at RO2.35bn against RO2.01bn in 2016. Expenditure for participation and support category, which includes government subsidies, fell 7.5 per cent to RO439.7mn from RO475.3mn in the previous year.

The shrinking deficit is a marked change from the RO5.3bn budget shortfall reported for the full year 2016 when oil price averaged US$40 per barrel for the year.

Oman’s 2017 budget was based on an oil price assumption of US$45 per barrel for the year. The average price at which Oman sold its crude stood at US$50.6 a barrel during the first ten months of 2017, which is 30.2 per cent higher from average oil price of US$38.9 a barrel in the same period of 2016, the NCSI statistics showed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Oman’s fiscal deficit to narrow to 13 per cent of the GDP this year compared with a higher deficit of 21.6 per cent of GDP in 2016. The IMF projects deficit to further decline to 11.4 per cent of GDP in 2018.

Oman’s daily average oil output decreased 3.4 per cent to 970,000 barrels in January – October period this year compared with 1mn-plus barrels output in the same period a year ago.

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