According to a report on the Sultanate’s economy for the third quarter released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the non-oil sector’s contribution to the economy grew by 4.7% to reach RO 14.1 billion at the end of the three-month period ended September 2015, compared with RO 13.5 billion during the same period of 2014.
The growth was driven mainly by a 6.4% increase in high value-added industrial activities along with a 4.3% rise in agriculture and fisheries and 4% upswing in services.
Industrial activities registered better results owing to mark growth in construction, electricity and water and mining and quarrying sectors at 17.1%, 13.6% and 8.5% respectively. In contrast, value addition by the manufacturing industries fell by 1.6% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter of 2014.
Services sector grew to RO 9.5 RO billion in Q3 from RO 9.1 billion in the prior year period, propped up by strong Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities, which grew at 5.8% and also a 5.3% increase in financial intermediation activities. Transport, storage and communications rose 4% while public administration and defense showed a growth of 3.9%. Other services, including health and education posted a growth of 3.6% even as growth rate in the hotels and restaurants sector stood at 3.2%.
Meanwhile, wholesale and retail trade picked up by 3% in the third quarter in 2015 compared with the corresponding period of 2014.
On the other hand, the petroleum sector activities declined by 38.5% to RO 6.9 billion, compared with RO 11.3 billion in the same period of 2014 while natural gas logged a growth of 20%.
Domestic liquidity increased 13.8% in the third quarter, compared with the corresponding period of 2014 to reach RO 14.7 billion.
Total deposits increased by 6% to RO 18.1 billion as against RO 17.1 billion in the same period of 2014. Private sector deposits increased by 8% while public sector deposits rose by 2.9%.
The report also indicated that the total credit (loans) increased by 10% by the end of September 2015 to reach RO 18.2 billion as against RO 16.5 billion in 2014. This was due to a 10.2% growth in credit extended to the private sector, which reached RO 15.9 billion together with an 8.8% growth in credit to the government sector (ministries, government bodies and public institutions).
Personal loans accounted for 39.4% of the total bank credit in the third quarter of 2015 at RO 7.2 billion, up by 9.6% compared with the same quarter of 2014.
Significantly, the average interest rate on total loans in the third quarter of 2015 fell by 5.9% while real interest rate (average interest rate minus inflation rate) rose to 4.6% in the third quarter of 2015 compared with 3.9% in the third quarter of 2014.
The real exchange rate of Omani rial rose by 6.2% to reach 104.5 points by Q3 end, from 98.4 points during the same quarter of 2014.
Muscat Securities Market (MSM) Index declined by 22.7% to 5787.7 points in the third quarter compared with Q3, 2014. Turnover fell by 44.7% to RO 946.5 million from RO 1.7 billion in the prior year.
The financial sector constituted the major share of the total trade value at 53%, followed by industry sector at 30%. Service sector came in at third place with a share of 15% of the total trade value in the third quarter.
In the tourism sector, revenues of five-star hotels slipped 18.1% in the third quarter of 2015 to RO 14.4 million compared with RO 17.8 million during the same quarter of 2014. In contrast, four-star hotels revenue increased by 30.5% during that period.
In terms of the overall price index of producer prices saw a decline of 25.8% in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter of the previous year due to lower oil and gas products increased by 29.4% and non-oil products by 4.8%.
The inflation rate rose by 0.14% compared to the same quarter of 2014 year.
With regard to foreign trade, the report mentioned the total value of commodity exports record until the end of September of the year 2015 decreased by 33.4% to RO 3.6 billion as a result of the low value of oil exports increased by 41.5% and non-oil exports increased by 40% during that period.
The value of imports of goods increased by 0.1% during the third quarter to reach RO 2.8 billion.
With regard to working in the private sector workforce report, it pointed to the high number of Omanis in the private sector up to the end of September 2015 to 207,000 workers up and running, where the number rose by 7.4% compared to the corresponding period in the year 2014.
The report stated that the general revenues of the state were recorded in the third quarter of 2015 decreased by 35.9% to RO 6.7 billion compared to RO 10.5 billion in the same quarter of 2014 year.
The Sultanate’s Public spending 5.7% also fell to RO 8.8 billion compared to RO 9.3 billion in the same quarter of the year 2014 where it came as a result of the decline in contributions and support increased by 35.9% and current expenditures by 1.8% while investment expenses increased 0.1%.
The report also pointed out that the GDP of the Sultanate with current prices registered a decline to 14.2% until the end of September 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, which fell from RO 23.4 billion until the end of June 2014 to RO 20.1 billion until the end of June 2015. It is due to a significant decline in crude oil prices during that period.