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14 April 2024

Oman's budget deficit hits RO22.1m last year

Million was the sultanate's expected budget shortfall based on an oil price of $45 a barrel and following a surplus of RO1.6 billion in the previous year. (AFP)

By Reuters

Oman booked a budget deficit of RO22.1 million (Dh210.83m) last year, a fraction of the Gulf oil producer's initial plan, helped by recovery in oil prices, central bank data showed yesterday.

The global financial crisis slashed income of the key countries in the world's top oil exporting region – Saudi Arabia and the UAE – last year.

Smaller Oman fared better because as a non-Opec member it was not obliged to join the group's output cuts.

The sultanate originally planned a budget shortfall of RO810m in 2009 based on an oil price of $45 a barrel and following a surplus of 1.6 billion in the previous year.

The Arabian Gulf country's expenditures rose 4.8 per cent to RO6.709 billion in 2009 from the previous year, above RO6.424bn planned, on higher infrastructure spending.

Revenues dropped 16.3 per cent to 6.687 billion last year, but were higher than 5.614 billion projected, as oil prices recovered following a sharp fall from a 2008 record peak of over $147 a barrel, the data showed.

Oman sold its oil at an average price of $56.67 a barrel in 2009, down 44 per cent from a year earlier.

The country plans a gap of 800 million rials for 2010 based on a conservative estimate of $50 a barrel. The crude price now stands above $79 a barrel.

Oman, which boosted spending by 12 per cent this year to finance a range of infrastructure projects, is expected to book a fiscal surplus of 4.0 per cent of gross domestic product this year, a Reuters poll showed last month.


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