High oil prices helped Oman post a budget surplus of OMR3.22 billion ($8.4 billion) in 2012, a turnaround from a deficit of OMR113.2 million in 2011, data from the finance ministry showed on Thursday.
The surplus is equivalent to 12 per cent of the sultanate’s 2011 gross domestic product, according to a Reuters calculation based on the latest official data.
Minister for Financial Affairs Darwish al-Balushi had estimated last month that actual 2012 state expenditure was about OMR13 billion, which would have produced a budget surplus of about OMR1 billion. The finance ministry did not explain why its data was so different from the minister’s initial estimate.
The ministry also revised its initally reported 2011 revenue figure sharply down, resulting in a small deficit instead of the surplus previously recorded. It did not explain the change.
Oman based its 2012 budget plan on a projected oil price of $75 a barrel and predicted a deficit of OMR1.2 billion.