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Oman’s bank lending up 2.9% in March, deposits jump 12%

3 Jun 2024 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Total outstanding credit extended by Oman’s banking sector grew by 2.9% year-on-year to reach RO30.8bn at the end of March 2024, the latest statistics released by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) showed.

Of the total bank lending, credit to the sultanate’s private sector demonstrated a relatively higher growth of 3.6% year-on-year to reach RO25.9bn as of March 31, 2024, the CBO said in its monthly statistical bulletin.

The shares of the non-financial corporate sector and household sector (mainly under personal loans) in total private sector credit stood at 45.4% and 45%, respectively. The share of financial corporations was 5.8%, and other sectors received the remaining 3.8% of total private sector credit.

The combined balance sheet of conventional banks showed a year-on-year growth of just 0.8% in total outstanding credit as of end-March 2024.

The conventional banks’ credit to the private sector increased by 1.6% to RO20.3bn, while their overall investments in securities went up by 28% to RO5.7bn. The conventional banks’ investment in government development bonds increased by 17.1% to RO1.8bn, while their investments in foreign securities dramatically increased by 139% to RO2.3bn at the end of March 2024.

On the other hand, Islamic banking entities provided total financing of RO6.3bn at the end of March 2024, recording a growth of 12% over that a year ago. The total assets of Islamic banks and windows increased by 14.8% on a year-on-year basis to RO7.6bn and constituted about 17.7% of the banking system’s assets at the end of March 2024.

Sharp growth in bank deposits

The data issued by the central bank indicated that total deposits held with the banking sector registered a robust year-on-year growth of 11.7% to RO30.3bn at the end of March 2024. Total private sector deposits grew even higher at a 13.7% rate to RO20.2bn.

In terms of the sector-wise composition of private sector deposits, the share of household deposits stood at 49.8%, followed by non-financial corporations at 30.9%, financial corporations at 16.5%, and other sectors at 2.8%.

Aggregate deposits held with Oman’s conventional banks increased by 10.2% year-on-year to RO24.4bn at end-March 2024. The government deposits with conventional banks witnessed a decrease of 2.8% to RO5.2bn. Deposits from public enterprises grew 38.1% to RO2.5bn. Private sector deposits, which accounted for 65.7% of total deposits with conventional banks, increased by 9.7% as of March 2024 to reach RO16bn.

Total deposits held with Islamic banks and windows increased by 18.6% to RO5.8bn.

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