Oman’s banking sector has experienced a surge in growth in the first half of 2023, thanks to increased revenue growth, government spending, and exports. According to Oman News Agency, the net profit of local banks in the sultanate grew by 17.5 percent, reaching a record high of 235.3 million Omani riyals ($103 million) during this period. Additionally, the assets of the eight banks listed on the Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) rose to 39.9 billion riyals, recording a growth of 4.6 percent in the first six months.
The banking sector’s inclination to finance investment projects, private sector businesses, and small and medium enterprises, coupled with the rise of several economic indicators such as revenues, government spending, and exports, contributed to the growth in profits. Among the banks, Bank Muscat recorded the highest profits in the first half of the year, reaching 104.3 million riyals. National Bank of Oman came second with 29.3 million riyals, followed by Sohar International Bank with 23.6 million riyals. Oman Arab Bank and HSBC Bank Oman topped the list in growth rate, surging by 64.2 percent and 50 percent in net profits, respectively.
Oman’s economy continues to be one of the best-performing in the Gulf region, with its gross domestic product (GDP) reaching 8.7 billion riyals at constant prices in the first quarter of 2023, according to the latest official data. The country registered a 4.7 percent increase in GDP at the end of the first quarter, primarily driven by non-petroleum activities that recorded a 4.6 percent increase year on year.
Furthermore, a report by the World Bank published in April projected that Oman would become the fastest-growing economy in 2023 among the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The report stated that “the fastest-growing economy within the GCC in 2023 is projected to be Oman, at 4.3 percent growth.”
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