Muscat Daily: Helped by global economic recovery and improved demand for Omani products in the United States, India and the Middle East markets, the sultanate’s non-oil exports jumped nearly 40 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
Oman’s total non-oil exports grew by 39.9 per cent to RO1.866bn in the first quarter of 2022 from RO1.334bn recorded in the same period of the previous year, driven by increased demand from key markets in the region and around the world, according to data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
The economy returned to normalcy in 2021 after previous year’s twin-shock of oil price collapse and the coronavirus outbreak, and the burgeoning demand for Omani exports suggests that the sultanate’s economy is well on a recovery path. Supported by strong recovery in oil prices and government’s economic stimulus measures, Oman’s nominal GDP grew at a solid pace of 25.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
Omani exports to the UAE – the biggest destination for the sultanate’s non-oil shipments – increased by 10.2 per cent to RO278.1mn during the first quarter of 2022 against RO252.3mn in the same period of last year. Exports to Saudi Arabia grew by 27.6 per cent to RO158.3mn in the three months period ended March 31, 2022.
As Oman’s major trading partners are continuing to record economic recovery after the pandemic, the robust growth in Omani exports was led by strong demand from the United States, India and other countries.
Non-oil exports to the United States spiked more than 131 per cent in 2022 amounting to RO268.1mn in the first quarter compared with RO115.9mn in the same period of 2021. Omani shipments to India also surged by 65.6 per cent to RO159.5mn in the first quarter of this year as compared to RO96.3mn recorded in 2021.
NCSI data suggests that the strong recovery in non-oil exports is broad-based for almost all of Oman’s major trading partners. The strong trade performance shows that Omani exporters are making good recovery in attracting overseas orders.
Omani non-oil exports to other countries jumped by 35.1 per cent during the first quarter of 2022 to RO906.7mn against RO671.3mn in the same period of 2021.
International trade had collapsed during 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic forced much of the world into lockdown. However, global trade rebounded strongly in 2021, helping Omani exporters to recover the lost demand for their shipments.
Minerals, plastics and chemicals
As per the NCSI data, Oman’s mineral products export grew more than 42 per cent to RO357.8mn in the first quarter this year from RO251.2mn in the corresponding period of 2021. Shipments for chemical products also surged 44 per cent to RO381.8mn this year in comparison with RO265.3mn in the same period of last year.
With rising production capacities of the sultanate’s downstream industries, exports of plastics, rubber and their items grew nearly 83 per cent to hit RO290.6mn value in the first quarter of 2022 compared to RO158.9mn recorded in the first quarter of 2021.
Base metals and their articles accounted for around RO350mn worth of exports during the first quarter, an increase of more than 26 per cent compared to RO277.5mn recorded in the previous year.
Oman’s re-exports, by contrast, declined 27.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 at RO294.1mn compared to RO404.8mn recorded in 2021. The decline in re-exports was caused mainly due to reduced transshipments of transport equipments, electrical and mechanical goods.