Oman’s 2019 budget, ratified this week by the aging Sultan Qaboos, anticipates a $200mn reduction in the deficit to OR2.8bn ($7.3bn at the fixed rate of OR1=$2.596) from an estimated 2018 figure of $7.5bn, a 5% cut in real terms.

Though this implies a third consecutive reduction in the country’s deficit, the 2019 budget still projects a deficit of $7.3bn, over 9% of GDP (see table). And this is reliant on the sultanate achieving a highly-ambitious targeted spending cut of 5.3% in real terms. Oman’s ability to pull this off is questionable given that 2018 spending is slated to come in 5.6% above budget. (CONTINUED - 1007 WORDS)