Oman borrowing heavily from international market to tackle budget

Oman borrowing heavily from international market to tackle budget
Low oil prices has forced Gulf state Oman to look to international lenders to make up for a budget shortfall.
2 min read
24 October, 2016
Oman has been navigating some troubling financial waters [AFP]
Oman will borrow from the international market to cover around two-thirds of its budget deficit this year, the country's central bank has said.

Between 60 and 70 percent of the country's fiscal shortfall will be covered by eurobond issues and other forms of international borrowing, while the rest will be drawn from financial reserves, Reuters reported.

Low oil prices have severely dented Oman's coffers this year with the country's budget deficit doubling for the first seven months of this year compared to 2015.

Oman recorded $10.5 billion shortfall this year from the 2016 budget plan which estimated expenditure to be around $30.1 billion and revenues at $22.3.

However, continued low oil prices meant that the budget plan has not gone to plan, which was based on oil prices of around $45.

Hopes are high that oil prices could stabalise following an announcement this weekend from Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih that he believes the time of cheap crude is coming to an end.

Oman Central Bank's Executive President Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali said he did not expect the sultantate to borrow again from international markets but the country was likely to issue more domestic bonds.

Oman is embarking on a process of privitisation of public firms to raise more cash.

The country relies heavily on oil receipts to help fund the state's generous welfare programmes, extensive infrastructure projects, and military.