On the back of a sharp decline in the value of total imports, Oman’s trade surplus grew to RO4.320bn in the first nine months of 2019, an increase of 6.5 per cent from RO4.053bn trade surplus recorded in the same period of the previous year.
Given a decline in non-oil exports, Oman’s total merchandise exports decreased 4 per cent to RO11.105bn in January – September period of 2019 compared to RO11.565bn in the corresponding period of 2018, the latest statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) showed.
Of the total exports, the value of oil exports remained almost flat in the first nine months of 2019 at RO7.618bn compared to the same period of 2018. The value of refined oil exports amounted to RO819.6mn while liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports stood at RO1.291bn, the NCSI data showed.
The statistics showed that the sultanate’s non-oil export decreased 4 per cent to RO2.469bn by end of September last year from RO2.573bn in the corresponding period of 2018, mainly due to a sharp drop in exports to the UAE and Qatar in 2019.
Saudi Arabia emerged as the biggest market for Oman’s non-oil exports in 2019 as the UAE, which remained biggest market for the sultanate’s non-oil exports for past many years, came at second place in terms of the value of non-oil Omani exports.
While Oman’s non-oil exports to Saudi Arabia jumped 29 per cent to RO461.2mn in the January–September period of 2019, exports to the UAE and Qatar fell by 13.6 per cent and 35.5 per cent to RO451.2mn and RO171.4mn, respectively.
The value of re-exports from the sultanate also dropped more than 23 per cent in the first nine months 2019 to RO1.017bn, compared to RO1.327bn in 2018. Re-exports to the UAE decreased 3.1 per cent to RO295.9mn and re-exports to Qatar fell 23 per cent to RO207mn in the nine months ended September 2019. However, re-exports to Iran recorded a 53 per cent jump at RO169.8mn in 2019, the data showed.
The value of Oman’s merchandise imports dropped 9.7 per cent to RO6.785bn in the nine months ended September 2019 from RO7.511bn in the corresponding period in 2018. The decline in total merchandise imports was largely contributed by 23.7 per cent fall in imports of machinery, electrical equipment and appliances at RO1.520bn in 2019. Imports of ordinary metals dropped 15.7 per cent to RO1.062bn.
Transport equipment imports registered a 35.8 per cent rise to RO737.8mn last year compared to RO543.4mn in the same period of 2018.