Muscat: Oman’s exports for the first half of 2016 plunged 27.2 per cent to OMR4.96 billion from OMR6.82 billion in the same period last year.
The decline in export revenue was mainly attributed to the fall in oil and gas prices in international markets and a dip in non-oil exports. The average price of Oman Crude declined 33.7 per cent to $38.9 per barrel for the first nine months of this year, from $58.6 per barrel for the same period in 2015, according to the latest monthly data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). “The fall in exports is mainly due to a plunge in energy prices and not due to output. The export revenues will show improvement only when energy prices improve. The energy prices will be better next year,” said Kannan Rajagopal, general manager of the Global Omani Investment Company.
“The fall in oil prices had a cascading effect,” said another senior market analyst, who wished to remain anonymous.
The exports of crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas plunged 36.3 per cent to OMR2.62 billion in the first half of 2016, from OMR4.12 billion in the same period in 2015.
Of this, crude oil exports showed a 37.3 per cent decline, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports were down 33.2 per cent. The Sultanate of Oman produced 277.04 million barrels of crude oil in the first nine months of 2016, up 3.4 per cent over the same period last year.
Non-oil exports plunge
Likewise, non-oil exports plunged by 23.7 per cent to OMR1,247.8 million from OMR1,636.3 million, the NCSI report showed. Among various product segments, plastics and rubber products plummeted 50.6 per cent to OMR64.5 million.
Mineral exports, which include ceramic tiles and dolomites, also declined by 11.5 per cent to OMR333.4 million. “Demand for several mineral products in the region has fallen after GCC governments reduced spending on infrastructure and housing projects,” noted the market analyst. “This is also reflected in the price of mineral products,” he added. The Sultanate of Oman’s export promotion agency is targeting double digit growth in non-oil exports this year.
As far as non-oil exports are concerned, Rajagopal said, a recovery is seen in commodity prices across the globe in recent weeks, after a decline in 2015 and the first half of 2016. “We expect the recovery to continue in 2017 as well. So, there could be a growth in the Sultanate’s non-oil export revenue next year,” he added.
Rajagopal also said that the export volume of mineral products is likely to improve in the next two to three years since several mining projects will come on stream. “This will add to export revenues.”
However, re-exports showed a growth of 3 per cent at OMR1,088.8 million from OMR1,057.1 million during the period under review.
Meanwhile, Oman’s export development agency, the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (popularly known as Ithraa), has been organising several programmes to enhance non-oil exports.
These include visits of trade delegations, participation in international exhibitions, business-to-business meetings and market studies in potential export markets.