Oman’s budget deficit in the first nine months of 2015 soared to OR2.93bn ($7.6bn at OR1=$2.6), according to latest statistics from the Ministry of Finance.

Annualized for 2015 as a whole, the deficit jumped to OR3.91bn ($10.2bn). This would be the biggest deficit this millennium (beating 2009’s OR3.7bn) and 33% more than the projected deficit of OR2.5bn ($6.5bn) in the original 2015 budget unveiled in January (MEES, 9 January). However, even this scenario seems to be optimistic, as Q4 expenditure is historically larger than other quarters (see graph), while oil prices have fallen further – to around $40/B for Oman crude – in recent weeks (see p18). Taking these factors into account the deficit for 2015 as a whole could well top OR5bn (see graphs). (CONTINUED - 692 WORDS)