Oman's economy looking good, says IMF
The sultanate's economy is projected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2013 and 3.5 per cent in 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In its World Economic Outlook report released last week, IMF said Oman's economy would maintain a moderate growth rate, which will average 3.8 per cent to 2018.
The Fund predicts that Oman's current account surplus will decline from 15.6 per cent of GDP in 2012 to 9.9 per cent of GDP in 2013, with a further decline to 4.7 per cent of GDP in 2014, the lowest level among all the GCC countries.
However, the IMF projection is significantly lower than the growth rate estimated in Oman's state budget for 2013, which sees a seven per cent growth in GDP for 2013.
Speaking at an economic forum on Saturday, H E Darwish bin Ismail al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs, said initial results point to the Omani economy having achieved 8.3 per cent growth in 2012; above the budget target of seven per cent.
“Non-oil GDP grew by 10.6 per cent. The Omani economy is expected to continue its good performance this year, thanks to the almost seven per cent growth in oil and non-oil revenues. The investment expenditure in 2013 is expected to be about RO3bn or 24 per cent of public expenditure,” H E Balushi said.
He added that despite the rapid growth of trade and economic activity, inflation in the sultanate remained within the targeted limit of about three per cent.
IMF predicts Oman's consumer price inflation to average 3.3 per cent in 2013 and 2014. The Fund, which has revised down its forecast for global economic growth to 3.3 per cent this year, expects expansion in the MENA oil exporting countries to fall to 3.25 per cent in 2013 due to relatively weak global crude demand, after expanding 5.75 per cent in 2012.
“For MENA oil exporters, 2012 was a year of robust growth driven largely by the almost complete restoration of Libya’s oil production and strong expansion in GCC countries. Economic growth is projected to fall to 3.25 percent in 2013 as oil production growth pauses against the backdrop of relatively weak global oil demand,” the Fund said in its report.
However, the IMF added that sustained high government spending in oil exporting countries will continue to support buoyant non-oil GDP growth, which is expected at 4.25 per cent in 2013.
“Overall, GDP growth in the oil exporters of the region is projected to strengthen to about 3.75 per cent in 2014 on the back of rising non-oil GDP growth and resuming oil GDP growth,” the report added.