Oman posts $2.9 bln budget surplus to end-September

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Oman recorded a state budget surplus of 1.123 billion rials ($2.92 billion) in the nine months to the end of September, the finance ministry said on Monday, as high oil prices bolster the public finances of the region’s exporters.

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The Gulf state reported a 43.4 percent year-on-year increase in public revenue by the end of September to nearly 10.6 billion rials following rising oil prices and production, while spending for the period exceeded 9.4 billion rials.

Although the government has committed to a program of fiscal discipline and structural reforms in the last few years to reduce a widening deficit, spending increased by 12.5 percent to end-September from the prior year, the ministry said in a monthly bulletin.

The surplus was a turnaround from a deficit of 1.03 billion rials in the same period of 2021.

Net oil revenue in the first nine months of 2022 was up 37 percent, with an average oil price of $94 a barrel from $57 a barrel in the year-prior period, while daily oil production averaged 1.056 million barrels from 957,000 barrels a year ago.

Oil exports increased by 15 percent in the third quarter to 242.8 million barrels year-on-year, while crude oil and condensate output rose by 10 percent in Q3 to 289.8 million barrels, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals said in a separate statement.

More than 90 percent of Oman’s oil exports went to China and India, the latest data showed.

Oman, one of the Gulf’s weaker economies, achieved a budget surplus in the first half of 2022, easing pressure on public finances and improving its ability to meet debt obligations.

The economy relies heavily on oil exports for revenue although it has sought to diversify into sectors such as tourism and renewable energy.

The IMF has forecast Oman’s GDP to grow 4.4 percent in 2022 before easing slightly 4.1 percent next year but warned of downside risks from global challenges.

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