Omanís economic growth seen at 5% this year: Minister


Oman's Minister responsible for financial affairs, Darwish bin Ismail Ali Al Balushi, speaking to the media on Thursday in Muscat. Photo - Talib Al Wahaibi/Times of Oman

Muscat: The Sultanate's economy will continue to achieve a real growth of five per cent this year, which is same as that of 2013, said the country's minister responsible for financial affairs Darwish bin Ismail Ali Al Balushi.

"It is expected that the national economy will continue to grow at high rates driven by several factors, such as the increase in oil production and stability in its prices, the government's fiscal and monetary policies as well as growing local demand," added the minister.

Addressing the media to announce the budget proposal for 2014 here on Thursday, Al Balushi said that the non-oil sector would grow at the rate of 7.3 per cent, against 5.6 per cent in 2013 and 5.4 per cent in 2012.

The global economy, he said, is expected to continue to recover at a slow pace, though as estimates indicate that the rate of growth of global economy will rise from 2.9 per cent in 2013 to 3.6 per cent in 2014. The global rate of inflation is expected to remain at the same level of 2013 at 3.2 per cent.

Referring to the easing of inflationary pressures within the country, he said that the inflation rate for January-October period of 2013 plummeted to 1.4 per cent, compared to the same period of 2012. A similar trend is likely to continue, in view of an expected decline in food grain prices in global markets and stringent consumer protection policies followed by the government.

The commercial banks in the country have achieved an overall 6.8 per cent growth in credit by the end of October, 2013 to reach OMR15.1 billion compared to OMR14.2 billion for the same period in 2012. 

Similarly, total deposits grew by 11.1 per cent by the end of October, 2013 to OMR15.3 billion compared to OMR13.8 billion for the same period in 2012.

Interest rates will continue to decline in the Sultanate in line with the expectations of global interest rates, thus contributing to support growth in bank credit and stimulate investment activity," added Al Balushi.

The interest rates in the domestic market declined from 6.19 per cent at the end of 2011 to 6.19 per cent and further to 5.46 per cent in October, 2013.

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