Strong non-hydrocarbon revenues propelled Oman to a nine-year high quarterly surplus of $1.17bn for Q1, in marked contrast to neighboring Saudi Arabia where robust spending resulted in a modest quarterly deficit (MEES, 12 May).

The Q1 surplus was up 27% on the $920mn figure from 1Q 2022, and while the year-on-year gains are unlikely to persist, this underlines the sultanate’s strengthening fiscal position. Muscat notched up its first annual surplus since 2008 last year, registering $2.8bn, and while it is budgeting for a $3.38bn deficit this year, conservative oil price estimates mean that it stands a chance of racking up a second straight annual surplus. (CONTINUED - 879 WORDS)