The fiscal surplus of the sultanate widened further to a record RO1.6bn in the first half of this year, as against a surplus of RO386mn in the corresponding period of 2011, latest data released by National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) showed.
Boosted by higher-than-anticipated oil prices and sharp growth in gas revenue during the six-month period, Oman's total revenue jumped 35.4 per cent to RO7.37bn from RO5.44bn in the same period last year, while total public expenditure surged 46.2 per cent to RO5.76bn from 3.94bn in the same period of the previous year.
“This is clearly very encouraging news and highlights the fact that right now the GCC economies find themselves in a position to significantly boost government spending while benefiting from growing fiscal surpluses,” said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at NCB Capital.
He said that the main reason for the fiscal windfall, naturally, is the continued relative strength of the oil price at a time when production has, moreover, been edging up.
Oman's oil production increased by 3.2 per cent to 164mn barrels in the first half of this year, while oil exports rose 1.9 per cent to 133.6mn in the six-month period.
In other data, Oman's consumer inflation increased to 2.7 per cent in June from 2.2 per cent in May, mainly due to a sharp rise in fish, fruit and vegetable prices.
The price of fish and sea products went up by 7.3 per cent in June from May, while the vegetable category recorded a 10.3 per cent rise in prices.