Oman’s beleaguered economy is increasingly in the crosshairs for ratings agencies spooked by its sky-high debt-to-GDP ratio and oil-dependent economy. Moody’s downgraded Oman’s economy to Baa3 on 16 March—one grade above junk status. A good thing for Muscat then that it got its 2018 borrowing out of the way early in issuing a $6.5bn bond, its largest ever, in January as Oman will likely have to offer higher rates following the downgrade (MEES, 2 February).

Despite the concerns, the very reliance on oil and gas (about 77% of total revenues in 2017), means the hydrocarbons sector is crucial if Muscat is to right the ship. (CONTINUED - 1006 WORDS)