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The decline in oil prices is expected to push Oman’s fiscal and current account balances to deficits from 2014/15. The increase in total spending, particularly during 2010–14, mainly in response to social demands, has pushed the breakeven oil price to US$108 per barrel in 2014. Ongoing efforts to pursue economic diversification are becoming more critical in the lower oil price environment. The overall fiscal deficit is projected at 14.8 percent of GDP in 2015 and would remain in double digits over the medium-term in the absence of fiscal reforms. Without further fiscal adjustment, financing the projected cumulative fiscal deficit between 2015 and 2020 would exhaust fiscal buffers and raise debt to about 25 percent of GDP, or increase government debt to over 70 percent of GDP by 2020 if buffers were to be preserved. The capital adequacy ratio of banks stood high at 15.1 percent, supported by low net nonperforming loans and high provisioning ratios of 0.6 percent and 136 percent, respectively, at end-September 2014. Stress tests suggest that under a combination of interest rate and market shocks, the solvency of the banking system would be preserved, although some banks would be required to raise capital to meet the central bank’s regulatory capital requirement. Banks’ liquidity situation augurs well for meeting emerging private sector credit demand, and for further financial deepening.
Source: International Monetary Fund Updated: May 2015
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