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Oman’s non-oil exports fall as global recession hits demand

9 Nov 2020

Oman’s non-oil exports plunged nearly 22 per cent in the first six months of 2020, marking the worst drop in many years, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed global demand and caused disruption in international trade.

The total value of Oman’s non-oil exports dropped 21.6 per cent to RO1.397bn during the January–Jun period of this year compared to RO1.783bn worth of shipments recorded in the same period of last year, according to statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

As the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily on the Middle East and Asian economies this year, the sultanate’s exports to its main trading partners sharply dropped due to the weak demand and supply-chain disruptions caused by the pandemic during the second quarter.

While the sultanate’s non-oil exports to Saudi Arabia plunged more than 39 per cent to RO226.2mn in the first six months of 2020, exports to the UAE grew at a lower rate of 4.3 per cent to RO305.1mn this year. Exports to Qatar decreased by 1.3 per cent to RO124.4mn.

Oman’s non-oil shipments to India fell more than 15 per cent at RO118.4mn during the first half of 2020 compared with RO139.7mn in the corresponding period of last year. Exports to the United States decreased 1.2 per cent to RO110.6mn during the January–June period on a year-on-year basis.

The exports to other countries combined decline more than 30 per cent to RO513mn this year compared to RO739.6mn recorded in the first half of 2019.

The export of base-metals and related products, which account for a major chunk of Oman’s non-oil exports, decreased more than 9 per cent to RO408.9mn in the first six months of this year from RO449.8mn worth of shipments in the same period of 2019.

The export of chemical products plunged by 45.4 per cent to RO272.1mn during the January–June period of 2020 from RO498.6mn recorded for the same period of 2019. The exports of mineral products however, slightly increased by 1.2 per cent to RO178.9mn this year.

Total re-exports from Oman, however, grew 6.4 per cent in the first six months of 2020 to RO741.2mn compared to RO696.4mn in the same period of the previous year. Value of re-exports to the UAE rose nearly 18 per cent to RO225.8mn, while re-exports to Qatar grew 22 per cent to RO175mn this year. 

Re-exports to Iran, however, dropped 65 per cent to RO39mn in the first half of 2020 from RO112.8mn in the same period a year ago.

On the other hand, Oman’s total merchandise imports fell more than 20 per cent to RO3.589bn during the January–June period of 2020 compared to RO4.5bn worth of imports recorded in the corresponding period of 2019, the NCSI statistics showed.

The imports from the UAE plunged 21 per cent to RO1.484bn in the first six months of 2020, while imports from Saudi Arabia increased 6.3 per cent to RO183.5mn during the same period.

Oman’s imports from China declined 4.6 per cent to RO277.4mn in the first half of 2020 against RO290.7mn in the same period a year ago. Imports from India also dropped nearly 23 per cent to RO172.1mn in the first six months of 2020.

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