Oman is on pace to see its deficit fall to just $4.4bn (5.7% of GDP) for 2019 from $6.9bn (OR2.65bn) for 2018. Given Muscat’s financial troubles (MEES, 8 March) and this year’s absence of GDP growth (precisely zero as per the IMF’s latest forecast), the near-40% fall in the country’s deficit to what would be the lowest figure since 2014 offers a rare piece of good news as assessments of Oman’s long-term economic health continue to sour.
Of course, the second half of 2014 saw oil prices collapse from the $100/B-plus average of the preceding four years. Oman is not the only oil producer to have struggled to cope. The oil revenue bonanza came at just the right time to enable Oman (among others) to hike spending from 2011 in a bid to head off ‘Arab Spring’ contagion. (CONTINUED - 845 WORDS)