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Ports in Oman show strong growth in 2023-2024

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The number of cruise ship visitors at the ports of Sultan Qaboos, Salalah, and Khasab rose significantly

In 2023, the cargo handling of Oman’s top five ports increased by 1.5% annually, topping 93.2 million metric tons, indicating their increasing importance in maritime commerce.

According to the Oman News Agency, the terminals at Sultan Qaboos, Salalah Sohar, Khasab, Shinas, and A’Suwaiq carried about 91.8 million tonnes of general, liquid, and bulk cargo in 2022.

It also revealed a notable jump in the number of ships berthed in 2023, with an estimated 11,005 boats in 2023 as opposed to 10,553 in 2022, or a rise of 4.3%.

The number of cruise ship visitors at the ports of Sultan Qaboos, Salalah, and Khasab rose significantly. This accomplishment is a result of the government’s cooperative efforts with travel partners to increase Oman’s hospitality industry.

According to the news agency, the government has been successful in drawing large cruise liner companies to various Omani shipping hubs. Some 229 cruise ships carried 599,000 passengers to Omani terminals in 2023, while approximately 87 ocean liners transported over 205,000 passengers in 2022. This indicates a commuter increase of more than 190%.

Credit Ratings

Analysts are crediting government initiatives to rein down expenditure, cut debt, boost non-oil revenue, and improve financial performance metrics for Oman’s upgraded credit rating.

The Oman Development Bank’s chairman of the board of directors, Mohammed Abu Bakr Al-Ghassani, stressed that his nation’s improved credit rating, which came from Standard & Poor’s, among other international agencies, from “BB” with a positive outlook in March 2023 to “BB+” with a positive outlook in March 2024, underlines the government’s dedication to optimising spending, raising revenue, and steadily lowering public debts, especially those with high costs.

Al-Ghassani stated that Oman would profit from future loans with lower interest rates, which would encourage foreign investors to engage in a variety of investments and large capital inflows. He also stated that the improvement in credit rating is a critical indicator of confidence for investors and borrowers in the economy and the banking sector.

Balance Of Trade

Oman’s trade balance at the end of January 2024 was in surplus of 877 million rials (about USD 2,280 billion), as opposed to a surplus of 686 million rials at the same time in 2023, according to preliminary figures issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information.

Additionally, the data demonstrated that at the end of January 2024, the value of commodity exports had surpassed 2.3 billion rials, indicating a 16.7% rise over the same time in 2023.

The state news agency reports that the increase in Oman’s oil and gas exports, which reached 1.45 billion rials at the end of January 2023, a 9.6% increase from 1.32 billion rials, is the main reason for the notable increase in export value. Significantly, Oman exported 1.13 billion rials worth of crude oil by the end of January 2024, a 30.5% rise from the same period in 2023.

But the value of the nation’s liquefied natural gas exports fell to 229 million rials, a loss of 26.1% from January 2023, while the value of its refined oil exports fell to 95 million rials, indicating a 36.5% decline.

By the end of January 2024, non-oil commodity exports reached 749 million rials, up 38.5% from 540 million rials at the end of January 2023, according to the same figures. Out of all the non-oil commodity exports, metal items had the highest value, coming in at 356 million rials, a significant rise of 115.9%. Ordinary metals and their products came next, with a jump of 21.3% to 122 million rials. Products from the chemical industry then suffered an 11.2% fall in export values, totalling 86 million rials.

According to the data, Saudi Arabia was also in the lead in non-oil commodity export trade activities, with a value that increased by 82% from the end of January 2023 to 103 million rials by the end of January 2024.

However, the UAE was in the lead when it came to Oman’s re-exports, which at the end of January last year totalled 31 million rials. With a value of 315 million rials, the Emirates also achieved the top rank on the list of nations that export the most to Oman, up 4.2% from the end of January 2023.

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