Commercial banks in Oman upbeat on sector’s prospects for current year
February 24, 2018 | 9:59 PM
by ONA
The economy will witness a better performance this year as a result of the government’s efforts to diversify it. Photo-ONA

Muscat: Commercial banks listed on Muscat Securities Market (MSM) expect the year 2018 to witness a positive performance of the banking sector supported by the improvement of the national economy as the GDP at current prices grew by 10.1 per cent until last September.

In their reports, banks confirmed their optimism for a good performance of the national economy during 2018.

BankMuscat said that the recovery of oil prices, efforts to diversify the economy and improve the investment climate will push the national economy, according to the IMF forecasts, to achieve GDP growth this year of about 7.3 per cent, which is well positioned to keep up with this growth and take advantage of good opportunities under prevailing market conditions.

AhliBank expressed optimism that the economy will witness a better performance this year as a result of the government’s efforts to diversify sources of income, tourism and economic promotion and enhancing the Sultanate’s status as an attractive hub for investment in various economic activities. It described 2017 as being full of challenges on the global level and on our region in particular. “Despite these challenges, the bank has been able to maintain strong performance”.

Bank Sohar believes that banking services are major contributor to the growth of the financial sector and enhancing the performance of the national economy.

Financial position

The financial position of banks in terms of asset quality, coverage of allocations and capital adequacy remains strong. Bank Sohar pointed out that the fourth quarter of 2017 concluded with good performance supported with initiatives that aimed at creating products that fit customer requirements and digitisation of many services it provides, as well as using available resources to meet customer expectations.

HSBC Oman described what it had achieved during the past year as “good progress” in difficult circumstances that enabled it to gain market share in strategic product areas. Commercial banks’ assets grew by 4.3 per cent to OMR26,057.4 million in 2017, an increase of OMR1.79 billion from 2016.

Commercial banks recorded an increase in their capital by OMR82.5 million at the end of last December to OMR1,272.5 million. During 2018, banks will seek to raise their capital by distributing bonus shares to shareholders. The six commercial banks listed on the MSM in 2017 achieved a good performance in terms of net profit of OMR338.3 million compared to OMR345.7 million in 2016.

The banks highlighted their efforts in supporting the national economy and financing many projects in the public and private sectors, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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