MUSCAT: The nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Sultanate continues to expand at a “robust pace, having burgeoned by 12 per cent during 2018, which is significantly higher than 7.8 per cent it recorded in 2017, according to a report by the Central Bank of Oman.
After witnessing a strong cyclical upturn for two consecutive years, global economic activities moderated in 2018, especially in the second half, reflecting a decline in business confidence and weak investment sentiments on the back of heightened policy uncertainties, tightening international financial conditions, and increasing trade tensions. The annual (2018) report of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) explained that the country-specific factors also contributed to a moderation in economic activities among advanced countries. The global growth is estimated to decelerate to 3.6 per cent in 2018 from 3.8 per cent during 2017, reflecting moderation in economic activities across a large number of advanced and emerging market economies.
The increasing trade tensions amid slowing global economic activities impacted the cross-border trade and the growth in world trade volume dropped sharply from 5.4 per cent in 2017 to 3.8 per cent in 2018. In the setting of moderating global growth, tightening financial conditions and decelerating world trade volume, it is notable that Omani economy gained further impetus with a broad-based upturn reflecting a surge in oil prices and expansion in non-oil economic activities. The nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded a growth of 12 per cent in 2018, much higher as compared to 7.3 per cent in 2017.
The petroleum and non-petroleum sectors grew in nominal terms by 37.1 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively in 2018. Notably, with Khazzan phase-I becoming operational, natural gas under petroleum sector is also emerging a significant contributor to the Omani economy. Furthermore, the non-petroleum sector is gradually evolving as the key force for ensuring sustainable growth. The buoyant government revenues, however, led to a decline in overall fiscal deficit by about 30 per cent to RO 2,649 million during 2018. In terms of budget outcome, the actual fiscal deficit over-performed the budget estimate by 11.7 per cent. The government debt also increased to RO 14,492 in 2018. — With inputs from Oman News Agency