Middle East and Central Asia > Oman

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Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mrs. Imen Benmohamed, Aidyn Bibolov, Giovanni Ugazio, and Ms. Tian Zhang
The Gulf Cooperation Council region faced a significant economic toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks in 2020. Policymakers responded to the pandemic with decisive and broad measures to support households and businesses and mitigate the long-term impact on the economy. Financial vulnerabilities have been generally contained, reflecting ongoing policy support and the rebound in economic activity and oil prices, as well as banks entering the COVID-19 crisis with strong capital, liquidity, and profitability. The banking systems remained well-capitalized, but profitability and asset quality were adversely affected. Ongoing COVID-19 policy support could also obscure deterioration in asset quality. Policymakers need to continue to strike a balance between supporting recovery and mitigating risks to financial stability, including ensuring that banks’ buffers are adequate to withstand prolonged pandemic and withdrawal of COVID-related policy support measures. Addressing data gaps would help policymakers to further assess vulnerabilities and mitigate sectoral risks.
International Monetary Fund
GCC policymakers moved quickly to mitigate the health and economic impacts of twin COVID-19 and oil price shocks. Infection rates have declined across the GCC to well below previous peaks, though countries have experienced successive waves of the virus, and economic recoveries have begun to take hold. Nevertheless, GCC policymakers must navigate a challenging and uncertain landscape. The pandemic continues to cloud the global outlook as countries are in different phases of recovery, with varied growth prospects and policy space
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Sultan Haitham ascended to the throne in January 2020 and has committed to implementing strong fiscal and structural reforms to address longstanding vulnerabilities. In addition to persistent fiscal deficits arising from incomplete adjustment to lower oil prices since 2015, Oman faced twin shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and a collapse in oil prices in 2020 that amplified fiscal and external vulnerabilities. The authorities moved rapidly to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections and provided broad-based policy measures to limit its impact on the economy. In addition, frontloaded fiscal consolidation has been implemented in the 2021 budget as part of the authorities’ Medium-Term Fiscal Plan (MTFP) which aims to eliminate the fiscal deficit over the medium term. Banks have high capital buffers and liquidity, but credit risk is a concern going forward. Structural reforms have been accelerated under Oman Vision 2040 to boost non-oil private sector growth and facilitate job creation.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Sultan Haitham ascended to the throne in January 2020 and has committed to implementing strong fiscal and structural reforms to address longstanding vulnerabilities. In addition to persistent fiscal deficits arising from incomplete adjustment to lower oil prices since 2015, Oman faced twin shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and a collapse in oil prices in 2020 that amplified fiscal and external vulnerabilities. The authorities moved rapidly to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections and provided broad-based policy measures to limit its impact on the economy. In addition, frontloaded fiscal consolidation has been implemented in the 2021 budget as part of the authorities’ Medium-Term Fiscal Plan (MTFP) which aims to eliminate the fiscal deficit over the medium term. Banks have high capital buffers and liquidity, but credit risk is a concern going forward. Structural reforms have been accelerated under Oman Vision 2040 to boost non-oil private sector growth and facilitate job creation.
Mr. Ali J Al-Sadiq and Ms. Inci Ötker
Declining commodity prices during mid-2014-2016 posed significant challenges to commodity-exporting economies. The severe terms of trade shock associated with a sharp fall in world commodity prices have raised anew questions about the viability of pegged exchange rate regimes. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain its spread have been associated with a significant disruption in several economic sectors, in particular, travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, adding to the downward pressure on commodity prices, a sharp fall in foreign exchange earnings, and depressed economic activity in most commodity exporters. This paper reviews country experiences with different exchange rate regimes in coping with commodity price shocks and explores the role of flexible exchange rates as a shock absorber, analyzing the macroeconomic impact of adverse term-of-trade shocks under different regimes using event study and panel vector autoregression techniques. It also analyzes, conceptually and empirically, policy and technical considerations in making exchange rate regime choices and discusses the supporting policies that should accompany a given regime choice to make that choice sustainable. It offers lessons that could be helpful to the Caribbean commodity-exporters.