22/10/2017 06:21 AST

Oman’s economy has achieved a robust 12.3 per cent growth rate to OMR13,001.4 million for the first half of 2017, mainly driven by a marked growth in crude oil prices in the international market and prudent fiscal policies of the government.

The average price of Oman Crude surged ahead by 35.4 per cent to $51 per barrel for the January to August period of 2017, against $37.6 a barrel for the same period of 2016, shows a monthly report released by National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

With an increase in crude oil prices, the economy started gaining strength since the beginning of this year, reversing a slackness witnessed during the previous two years.

The oil sector’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 34.9 per cent to OMR4,229.3 million in the first half, whereas the non-oil sector edged up by only 3.8 per cent to OMR9,134.7 million.

But the total production of crude oil in Oman fell by 3.9 per cent to 235.33 million barrels for the first eight months between January and August, against 244.79 million barrels of crude oil for the same period of last year.

Crude oil sector contribution alone soared by 42.3 per cent to OMR3,583.8 million for the first half between January and June, against OMR2,518.9 million for the same period of last year. The non-oil sector’s GDP grew by 3.8 per cent to OMR9,134.7 million during the January to June period of this year, from OMR8,798.3 million for the corresponding period of last year. Non-oil GDP was mainly driven by a surge in basic chemicals and mining activities, said the report.

Deficit narrows down

The budget deficit for the first eight months between January and August showed a marked fall of 36.5 per cent to OMR2,776.4 million, against OMR4,371.6 million, added the report. An increase in revenue and austerity measures helped the government contain the budget deficit, said a market analyst, who preferred anonymity.

The government revenue increased by 25.8 per cent to OMR5,366.3 million for the first eight months, from OMR4,267.4 million for the same period of last year. Net oil revenue alone rose by 39.3 per cent to OMR2,960.8 million for the January to August period of this year.

Also, public expenditure edged down 1.3 per cent to OMR7,342.7 million from OMR7,439 million during the period under review. Of this, current expenditure moved up by 1.2 per cent to OMR5,233 million, while investment expenditure declined by 3.9 per cent to OMR1,758.7 million during the first eight months of 2017.

Times of Oman

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