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Country Report Oman September 2017

Country Report Oman September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2379066
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • The monarchy will remain in power in 2017-21. However, the ongoing ill health of the sultan, Qaboos bin Said al-Said, and an untested method of succession represent a degree of uncertainty.
  • Low oil revenue will stymie efforts to create public-sector jobs for Omanis, leading to a pick-up in youth unemployment, which, combined with the need to reduce government spending, risks stoking unrest.
  • The government will step up its drive to diversify the economy away from a reliance on oil, with a focus on developing sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, logistics, mining and fishing.
  • The fiscal deficit will decline to 13.2% of GDP in 2017, reflecting a modest recovery in oil prices. The deficit will continue to narrow in 2018-21, helped by rising tax revenue and a boost to oil and gas production.
  • Real GDP growth will slacken to 0.6% in 2017, partly reflecting lower oil output. Growth will recover to an average of 2.5% a year in 2018-21 as pro-business reforms encourage investment and major projects are completed.
  • Inflation will average 1.9% in 2017-18, on the back of further subsidy reform and (in 2018) the introduction of value-added tax (VAT). Inflation will edge up further, to an average of 2% in 2019-21 as domestic demand strengthens.
  • Low oil prices will keep the current account in deficit throughout the forecast period, but the deficit will narrow from 18.6% of GDP in 2016 to 8.5% of GDP in 2021 as oil prices recover slightly and non-oil exports increase.


  • The government secured a US$3.55bn five-year senior unsecured term loan with a number of leading Chinese banks in mid-August.
  • The British defence secretary, Michael Fallon, met Oman's defence minister during his visit to the sultanate in late August and signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Services Agreement securing the UK's use of facilities at Duqm port.
  • The Ministry of Oil and Gas is testing an electronic card system for supplying fuel at cheaper prices to low-income families to compensate them for the increase in energy prices since the start of 2016.
  • According to the initial figures released by the government, the total stock of foreign direct investment in Oman equalled OR7.4bn (US$19.22bn) in 2016, of which OR3.2bn came from UK investors.
  • On September 5th Sultan Qaboos issued three royal decrees restructuring the board of governors of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) and appointed Tahir bin Salim bin Abdullah al-Amri as the new executive president of the bank.

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