Record-low oil prices have caused a steep drop in Oman’s GDP, which plummeted by nine per cent in the first nine months of 2016, the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) said in a recent bulletin.
The decline was reflected primarily in the petroleum sector, which fell by 29.4 per cent. Meanwhile, the non-petroleum sector recorded a marginal drop of 0.2 per cent.
The average annual inflation for 2016, however, remained at a moderate 1.1 per cent. The Sultanate has taken several austerity measures to ward off the impact of of low oil prices to reduce the fiscal gap.
The CBO said that while manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade were adversely affected, “value addition” showed positive growth in sectors such as construction, agriculture, fishing and real estate.
In a statement to the Oman News Agency (ONA), Hamoud Bin Sangour al Zadjali, the executive president of the CBO also confirmed that the strength and efficiency of the Omani rial was intact, and that “there is no change in its value”, dismissing any rumours about depreciation of the currency’s exchange rate in some Gulf countries.
“The latest data affirms the continuous appreciation of the US dollar against other currencies which, in turn, led to appreciation of the value of the Omani rial against such currencies, thus enhancing the purchase power of the Omani rial.”