Economy of Oman

Oman is a country in the Middle East. Current GDP per capita has expanded continuously in the past 50 years. It grew 339% in the 1960s reaching a peak growth of 1,370% in the 1970s scaling back to modest 13% growth in the 1980s and rising again to 34% in the 1990s.[14]

Economy of Oman
Ruwi CBD
CurrencyOmani rial (OMR)
1 USD ≈ 0.3845 OMR
Calendar year
GDP rank64th (nominal) / 74th (PPP)
GDP growth
4.7% (2015), 5.4% (2016),
0.7% (2017e), 2.3% (2018f) [1]
GDP per capita
Decrease $15,668 (2017)[2]
GDP by sector
agriculture 1.7%
industry 45.2%
services 53% (2017 est.)[3]
Negative increase 3.2% (2017 est.)[3]
Population below poverty line
30.72 (2010)[4]
Labour force
Increase 2.54 million (2016)[5]
UnemploymentNegative increase 16.9% (Dec 2017)[6]
Main industries
crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
Decrease 78th (2019)[7]
ExportsDecrease $21.1 billion (2016)[8]
Export goods
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
Main export partners
 China 31.9%
 Japan 12.9%
 United Arab Emirates 10.1%
 South Korea 10.0%
 Thailand 4.4%
 Singapore 4.4% (2012 est.)[9]
ImportsPositive decrease $20.6 billion (2016)[8]
Import goods
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
Main import partners
 United Arab Emirates 23.6%
 Japan 12.6%
 India 8.5%
 China 6.4%
 United States 6.1%
 United Kingdom 5.1%
 Italy 4.8% (2012 est.)[10]
Public finances
Negative increase 41.3% of GDP (2017 est.)[3]
Negative increase 31.4% of GDP (2016 est.)[3]
Revenues$22.68 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Expenses$32.07 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Economic aiddonor: pledged $1 million to Darfur refugees (2008)
Standard & Poor's: D Junk [11]
Outlook: D Junk[12]
Moody's[13]Outlook: D Junk

All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of the gross domestic product and gross domestic product per capita of Oman at market prices by the International Monetary Fund.[15]

Year Gross Domestic Product
(in millions US$)
Per Capita Income
Per Capita Income
(as % of USA)
1980 6,342 4,674 38.16
1985 10,395 6,129 34.65
1990 11,686 6,341 27.33
1995 13,803 6,355 22.84
2000 19,450 8,097 22.97
2005 30,905 11,806 27.70
2010 58,814 23,351 49.88
2015 81,550 24,024 43.03


Muttrah Souq
Traditional souqs (this one at Muttrah) are very common in Oman and have formed the bulk of Omani economy in the past

Oman's economic performance improved significantly in 1999 due largely to the mid-year upturn in oil prices. The government is moving ahead with privatization of its utilities, the development of a body of commercial law to facilitate foreign investment, and increased budgetary outlays. Oman liberalized its markets in an effort to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and gained membership in 2000.

Today, petroleum (oil) fuels the economy and revenues from petroleum products have enabled Oman's dramatic development over the past 30 years.

2006Omani exports
Omani exports in 2006

Oil was first discovered in the interior near Fahud in the western desert in 1964. Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) began production in August 1967. The Omani Government owns 60% of PDO, and foreign interests own 40% (Royal Dutch Shell owns 34%; the remaining 6% is owned by Compagnie Francaise des Petroles [Total] and Partex). In 1976, Oman's oil production rose to 366,000 barrels (58,000 m³) per day but declined gradually to about 285,000 barrels (45,000 m³) per day in late 1980 due to the depletion of recoverable reserves. From 1981 to 1986, Oman compensated for declining oil prices, by increasing production levels to 600,000 b/d. With the collapse of oil prices in 1986, however, revenues dropped dramatically. Production was cut back temporarily in coordination with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and production levels again reached 600,000 b/d by mid-1987, which helped increase revenues. By mid-2000, production had climbed to more than 900,000 b/d where they remain. Oman is not a member of OPEC.

Natural gas reserves, which will increasingly provide the fuel for power generation and desalination, stand at 18 trillion ft³ (510 km³). The Oman LNG processing plant located in Sur was opened in 2000, with production capacity of 6.6 million tons/YR, as well as unsubstantial gas liquids, including condensates.

Sohar flickr01
Petrochemical tanks in Sohar

Oman does not have the immense oil resources of some of its neighbors. Nevertheless, in recent years, it has found more oil than it has produced, and total proven reserves rose to more than 5 billion barrels (0.8 km³) by the mid-1990s. Oman's complex geology makes exploration and production an expensive challenge. Recent improvements in technology, however, have enhanced recovery.

Agriculture and fishing are the traditional way of life in Oman. Dates and limes, grown extensively in the Batinah coastal plain and the highlands, make up most of the country's agricultural exports. Coconut palms, wheat, and bananas also are grown, and cattle are raised in Dhofar. Other areas grow cereals and forage crops. Poultry production is steadily rising. Fish and shellfish exports totaled $34 million in 2000.


Sohar port is bound to help Oman transform its economy significantly

The government is undertaking many development projects to modernize the economy, improve the standard of living, and become a more active player in the global marketplace. Oman became a member of the World Trade Organization in October 2000, and continues to amend its financial and commercial practices to conform to international standards. Increases in agriculture and especially fish production are believed possible with the application of modern technology. The Muscat capital area has both an international airport at Seeb and a deepwater port at Mina Qaboos. The newly opened (1999), large-scale modern container port at Salalah, capital of the Dhofar Governorate, and a seaport at nearby Raysut were recently completed. A national road network includes a $400 million highway linking the northern and southern regions. In an effort to diversify the economy, in the early 1980s, the government built a $200-million copper mining and refining plant at Sohar. Other large industrial projects include an 80,000 b/d oil refinery and two cement factories. An industrial zone at Rusayl showcases the country's modest light industries. Marble, limestone, and gypsum may prove commercially viable in the future.

The Omani Government is implementing its sixth 5-year plan, launched in 2000, to reduce its dependence on oil and expatriate labor. The plan focuses on income diversification, job creation for Omanis in the private sector, and development of Oman's interior. Government programs offer soft loans and propose the building of new industrial estates in population centers outside the capital area. The government is giving greater emphasis to "Omanization" of the labor force, particularly in banking, hotels, and municipally sponsored shops benefiting from government subsidies. Currently, efforts are underway to liberalize investment opportunities in order to attract foreign capital.

Some of the largest budgetary outlays are in the areas of health services and basic education. The number of schools, hospitals, and clinics has risen exponentially since the accession of Sultan Qaboos in 1970.

United States firms faced a small and highly competitive market dominated by trade with Japan and Britain and re-exports from the United Arab Emirates. The sale of U.S. products has also been hampered by higher transportation costs and the lack of familiarity with Oman on the part of U.S. exporters. However, the traditional U.S. market in Oman, oil field supplies and services, should grow as the country's major oil producer continues a major expansion of fields and wells. In addition, on 20 July 2006 the U.S. Congress approved the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement. This took effect on 1 January 2009, eliminating tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial products. It also provides strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman.[16]



In Oman, the Omanization program has been in operation since 1999, working toward replacing expatriates with trained Omani personnel. The goal of this initiative is to provide jobs for the rapidly growing Omani population. The state has allotted subsidies for companies to hire local employees not only to gradually reduce reliance on foreign workers but also to overcome an overwhelming employment preference on the part of Omanis for government jobs.[17]

By the end of 1999, the number of Omanis in government services exceeded the set target of 72%, and in most departments reached 86% of employees. The Ministry has also stipulated fixed Omanization targets in six areas of the private sector. Most companies have registered Omanization plans. Since April 1998 a 'green card' has been awarded to companies that meet their Omanization targets and comply with the eligibility criteria for labour relations. The names of these companies are published in the local press and they receive preferential treatment in their dealings with the Ministry. Academics working on various aspects of Omanization include Ingo Forstenlechner from United Arab Emirates University and Paul Knoglinger from the FHWien.

Omanization, however, in the private sector is not always successful. One of the reasons is that jobs are still filled by expatriates because of the lower wages. Studies reveal that an increasing number of the job openings in the private sector pay the official minimum salary for nationals, which is an unattractive employment prospect for the locals.[18] There is also the problem of placing Omani workers in senior positions due to the fact that a significant chunk of the workforce is composed of young and inexperienced workers.[19]

Training and Omanization

In order to meet the training and Omanization requirements of the banking sector, the Omani Institute of Bankers was established in 1983 and has since played a leading role in increasing the number of Omanis working in the sector. The Central Bank monitors the progress made by the commercial banks with Omanization and in July 1995 issued a circular stipulating that by the year 2000, at least 75% of senior and middle management positions should be held by Omanis. In the clerical grades 95% of staff should be Omanized and 100% in all other grades. At the end of 1999, no less than 98.8% of all positions were held by Omanis. Women made up 60% of the total. During 2001 the percentage of Omanis employed at senior and middle management levels went up from 76.7% to 78.8%. There was a slight increase in the clerical grade percentage to 98.7%, while the non-clerical grades had already reached 100% Omanization in 1998. The banking sector currently employs 2,113 senior and middle managers supported by 4,757 other staff.

The Ministry has issued a decision regulating tourist guides, who in future will be required to have a license. This Ministerial decision aims at encouraging professionalism in the industry as well as providing career opportunities for Omanis who will be encouraged to learn foreign languages so as to replace foreign tour guides. In January 1996, a major step forward in the training of Omanis in the hotel industry came with the opening of the National Hospitality Institute (NHI). The Institute is a public company quoted on the Omani Stock exchange. In February 1997, the first batch of 55 male and female trainees, sponsored by the Vocational Training Authority, were awarded their first level certificates and were given on-the-job training in several hotels. In May 1999, the fourth batch of 95 trainees obtained their NVQs, bringing the number of Omanis trained by the Institute to around 450. Omanis now make up 37% of the 34,549 employees in the hotel and catering business, which exceeds the Omanization target of 30% set by the Government. The NHI has also trained catering staff from the Sultan’s Armed Forces and has launched a two-year tour guide course, which includes language training, safe driving, first aid and a knowledge of local history and geography.


The stock market capitalization of listed companies in Oman was valued at $15,269 million in 2005 by the World Bank.[1]

See also


  1. ^ "World Bank forecasts for Oman, June 2018 (p. 152)" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  2. ^ "GDP per capita World Bank - Oman". World Bank. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The World Factbook- Oman". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Urban - Gini index - Omani - Total". The National Center for Statistics and Information, Sultanate of Oman. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Labor force, total - Oman". The World Bank Group. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  6. ^ "View Oman's Unemployment Rate from 1991 to 2017 in the chart". CEIC. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Oman". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Oman". The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Export Partners of Oman". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Import Partners of Oman". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Oman Energy Policy, Laws and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 ISBN 978-1-329-07676-1 p. 113
  15. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  16. ^ Chemical & Engineering News, 5 January 2009, "U.S.-Oman pact expands Free Trade", p. 18
  17. ^ Ayalon, Ami (1993). Middle East Contemporary Survey, Volume Xv: 1991. Boulder: Westview Press. pp. 602–603. ISBN 0813318696.
  18. ^ Schlumberger, Oliver (2007). Middle East Contemporary Survey, Volume Xv: 1991. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780804757768.
  19. ^ Ayalon, p. 603.

External links



Agriculture in Oman

Agriculture in Oman has been important for centuries. The government's economic development policy emphasizes the expansion of such non-oil sectors as agriculture, fishing, industry, and mining in its bid to diversify the economy and diminish its dependence on oil exports. The goal is to establish a sustainable economic base in preparation for the time when hydrocarbon reserves are depleted. The government launched several economic campaigns, naming 1988 and 1989 as Years of Agriculture and 1991 and 1992 as Years of Industry. Through these campaigns, the government has encouraged private-sector investment by allocating generous amounts of cash support for private industry to be disbursed mainly through official development banks. For example, the Oman Bank for Agriculture and Fisheries, created in 1981, extends loans at concessionary rates to individuals for whom farming or fishing is the principal activity. The bank acts as a distributive institution, receiving an interest subsidy from the government. In 1990 there were 1,308 loans, totaling RO4.7 million. Development programs also incorporate the government's policy of indigenization, with a large component of funds.

Al-Mazyunah Free Zone

Al-Mazunah Free Zone ( Arabic : المنطقة الحرة بالمزيونة) is a free zone established in 1999 in Oman as a trade zone, Dhofar region in Walayat Al-Mazyounah. It is located in the south western of Oman in the border to Yemen. By the Royal Decree 103/2005 it was given all the characteristics of a Free Zone and its management assigned to the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates the main government arm responsible for developing and managing prime industrial lands in Oman. Many Exemptions and facilities are offered for businesses operating in the free zone. Almazunah Free Zone occupies area around 4.5 million square meters. In 2010 a long term investment agreement has been entered between the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates and Golden Hala Company to develop and operate an area of 3 million square meters.

Central Bank of Oman

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) was established in December 1974 and began operations on 1 April 1975. It replaced the Oman Currency Board as the principal currency authority in Oman. Currently it is headed by the deputy chairman of the board of governors Dr. H E Sultan bin Salim bin Said al Habsi .The Central Bank of Oman is responsible for maintaining the stability of the national currency the Omani Rial and ensuring monetary and financial stability in a deregulated and open financial system. The capital base of the CBO which was one million Omani Rials at the commencement of operations in 1975, was strengthened over time and since April 2002 has remained at R0300 million. At the end of 2005, CBO's assets/liabilities totalled RO 1826.4 million.The Omani banking system has experienced several mergers since the 1990s and as a result the number of commercial banks at the end of 2005 stood at 13, of which five are locally incorporated and eight are branches of foreign banks, together having a branch network of 329 branches. Local banks, in addition, have 10 branches and one representative office abroad. As at the end of 2005, there were also three specialised banks in operation, with a network of 26 branches. The CBO has approved the establishment of an additional local bank (Sohar Bank) and a branch of a foreign bank (Bank of Beirut) that are expected to commence operations by the end of 2006. In order to strengthen the financial position of licensed banks and enable them to face competition as well as finance large projects, the minimum capital requirement for commercial banks was enhanced to RO50 million for local banks and RO10 million for foreign banks. The overall capital adequacy ratio of the commercial banks improved to reach 18.5 percent in 2005.

The Sultanate has made significant progress in implementing the new capital Adequacy criteria laid down in the Basel-II Accord. The adoption of Basel II would transform the current approaches and tools of supervision of the CBO as well as the audit and risk management practices of banks.

The CBO also administers and participates in the financing of a Bank deposit insurance system, which provides the commercial banks with a high level of security for deposits, while cushioning the effects of any unforeseen circumstances. The CBO also has an early warning system for commercial banks that enables it to

predict possible financial crises and take preventive action when necessary.

The various monetary policy instruments under the CBO's command could be broadly categorized into indirect measures and direct measures. Indirect policy (market oriented) measures include open market operations involving the buying and selling of securities, issuance of Central Bank's own securities, swaps etc. CD auctions are the main open market type operations conducted by CBO to absorb Omani Rial liquidity and banks can repossess these CDs to acquire liquidity both in the inter-bank market as well as the CBO. Direct monetary policy instruments used by the CBO are mainly in the form of reserve requirements and lending ratios .

The CBO has put in place an efficient and advanced payment and settlement system in Oman. The launch of the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) was the first milestone and went into live operations on 28 September 2005.

Energy in Oman

Energy use in Oman was 175 TWh and 61 TWh per million people in 2009. In 2008, primary energy use in Oman grew to 191 TWh and 69 TWh per million people.


Fahud is a permanent oil camp and oil field in the middle of the central plain area of Oman, named after the nearby Jebel Fahud believed to mean "Leopard Mountain" from the time when wild leopards roamed the area. The main oil camp is owned by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the national oil company.

Oil operations commenced in 1954 when a PDO survey party arrived at the jebel and began surveying it. The first well at Jebel Fahud was completed at 12,235 feet in May 1957. Unfortunately, it was a dry hole except for a very small quantity of gas and oil.

Three of the PDO partners decided to withdraw from the Omani concession, leaving Shell (85%) and Partex (15%) to take it over and resume exploration. Only a few hundred yards from the original test well site, a second test well was sunk at Fahud and, in 1964, found oil in commercial quantities.Today, Fahud is the central base of PDO's operations in the interior of Oman; the company's main offices are in Mina Al Fahal in Muscat. Many contracting companies also have camps for their workers and equipment at Fahud. Some meteorological data: 1 June 2008 at 15 pm local hour it was recorded 54.5 degrees Celsius, a new record for Fahud.

The town is served by Fahud Airport.

History of Oman

Oman is the site of pre-historic human habitation, stretching back over 100,000 years. The region was impacted by powerful invaders, including other Arab tribes, Portugal and Britain. Oman once possessed the island of Zanzibar, on the east coast of Africa as a colony.

Index of Oman-related articles

This page list topics related to Oman.

List of Omani billionaires by net worth

This is a list of Omani people based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine, Hurun and Wealth-X.

List of banks in Oman

This is a list of banks in Oman.

Muscat Securities Market

The Muscat Securities Market (MSM, Arabic: سوق مسقط للأوراق المالية‎) is the only stock exchange in Oman. It was established by the Royal Decree (53/88) issued on 21 June 1988, to regulate and control the Omani securities market and to participate, effectively, with other organizations for setting up the infrastructure of the Sultanate's financial sector.

After ten years of continuous growth, there was a need for a better functioning of the market. Thus MSM has been restructured by two Royal Decrees (80/98) and (82/98).

Omani rial

The Omani rial (Arabic: ريال‎, ISO 4217 code OMR) is the currency of Oman. It is divided into 1000 baisa (also written baisa, بيسة).

Oman–United States Free Trade Agreement

The U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement is a trade pact between Oman and the United States. On November 15, 2004, the George W. Bush administration notified the U.S. Congress of its intent to sign a trade agreement with the Middle Eastern Sultanate of Oman. On January 19, 2006 the two countries signed the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA), which is part of the Bush administration's strategy to create a US - Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013.

On June 29, 2006, the U.S. Senate passed OFTA by a vote of 60-34, the fewest "aye" votes in the Senate of any trade bill other than CAFTA. On July 20, 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed OFTA by a vote of 221-205, with 7 abstentions. For procedural reasons, the Senate took a second vote on September 19, 2006, and the bill's implementing bill was passed 62-32, with 6 abstentions. In all, the Senate approved the bill 63-37, since all senators voted either "aye" or "nay" in one of the two votes.

George W. Bush signed the bill into law on September 26, 2006.

And on December 29, 2008 signed the proclamation to implement the agreement with effective date of January 1, 2009.

Omran Company

Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is a Government owned company mandated to drive the investment, growth and development of the tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman. Established in 1964, they are the master developers of major tourism, heritage and urban developments.

Outline of Oman

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Oman:

Oman – sovereign country located in Southwest Asia along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman borders the United Arab Emirates on the northwest, Saudi Arabia on the west and Yemen on the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the south and east and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The country also contains Madha, an exclave enclosed by the United Arab Emirates, and Musandam, an exclave also separated by Emirati territory.

Petroleum Development Oman

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is the leading exploration and production company in the Sultanate of Oman. The Company deliver's the majority of the country's crude oil production and natural gas supply, but above all it focus's on delivering excellence, growth and sustainable value creation within and well beyond our industry.

The Company is owned by the Government of Oman (with a 60% interest), Royal Dutch Shell (34%), Total (4%) and Partex (2%). The first economic oil find was made in 1962, and the first oil consignment was exported in 1967.

Revenue stamps of Oman

Revenue stamps of Oman were first issued in the 1930s and continue to do so to the present day. The first revenue stamps of c. 1930 consists of at least five stamps which depict palm trees and is inscribed State of Muscat and Oman in Arabic. Most examples of this issue are found in a private document archive, and very few are known in the hands of collectors.The second issue depicts Al Jalali Fort in Muscat, and it is inscribed Sultanate of Muscat and Oman in Arabic, and dated 1365 AH (1945–46 AD). Two of the four values from this set are only known as proofs and not as issued stamps. A third set of three values dated 1382 AH (1962–63 AD) also depicts the same fort. The first to third issues were all denominated in Indian annas and rupees.Between 1972 and 1974, a new set was issued denominated in Omani baiza and rials. It depicted the national emblem on a floral background and inscribed Sultanate of Oman in both Arabic and English. This issue was printed by Harrison and Sons and it consisted of fourteen values, four of which have not yet been recorded. In 1989, a similar set of ten stamps was issued, but the emblem was on a plain background and the printer was BDT International. In around 1998, the same design was issued with redrawn inscriptions, and in around 2011 it was issued in a slightly larger size. Seven different values from the c. 1998 and four from the c. 2011 issue have been recorded.A set of five revenues was printed by Waterlow and Sons for the Omani region of Dhofar, but it is unclear if these were ever issued.In the 1980s, labels were issued to pay for the Passenger Service Charge at Seeb International Airport in Muscat.


Sharakah (Arabic for "Partnership") is a closed-joint stock company incorporated by a Royal Decree in the Sultanate of Oman in 1998. Sharakah provides financial support and post0financial (Advisory and Administrative) to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Sultanate of Oman.

Tourism in Oman

Oman is a country on the Arabian Peninsula. Tourism in Oman grew considerably during the 2000s, and a 2013 report predicted that it would become one of the largest industries in the nation.Oman has various tourist attractions, particularly within the realm of cultural tourism. Muscat was named the best city to visit in the world by American travel guide publisher Lonely Planet in 2012, and was chosen as the Capital of Arab Tourism of 2012.

Trade unions in Oman

There are few trade unions in Oman, established following a 2006 Decree by the Sultan of Oman permitting their organization. Some of these, have done completed elections, they are members of the General Foundation of Oman Trade Union (GFOTU). Oman has become the second Gulf Arab state, after Bahrain, to have a general federation of trade unions.The International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC) Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights Violations for 2009 reported serious problems for large parts of the country’s workforce, especially migrant workers in construction and in domestic work. Oman joined the International Labour Organization in 1991 but has not ratified half the ILO's core labour standards conventions including No. 87, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 or No. 98 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949.

For many years, trade unions were illegal in Oman. Until 2006, the World Federation of Trade Unions recognized one exile organization, the National Committee of Omani Workers.

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