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Oman has made concerted efforts to diversify its economy to reduce its reliance on oil and gas revenues. The non-oil export sector has become a key focus, reflecting the country’s commitment to sustainable economic development.
In 2022, Oman’s non-oil export sector is expected to encompass a range of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and services. The government has implemented various initiatives to promote and support non-oil exports, encouraging the growth of sectors such as petrochemicals, minerals, and the seafood industry.
Additionally, Oman has sought to strengthen international trade partnerships and explore new markets to boost the export of non-oil goods and services. This strategic shift aims to enhance economic resilience, create employment opportunities, and foster long-term economic stability for the Sultanate.
Oman consistently achieves a net export status when oil and gas exports are included in the trade balance calculation. Over the past five years, the country has maintained an average trade surplus of around 5.5 billion OMR. The trade composition of Oman from 2018 to 2022 is depicted in Figure 1 below.
From 2018 to 2022, there was an upward trend in non-oil exports in Oman (See Figure 2), with a CAGR of 15%. This positive development is particularly noteworthy considering Oman’s dependence on oil, especially in the face of economic challenges like COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In 2022, the value of non-oil exports reached 7.5 billion OMR with an annual growth of 44.2% compared to 2021 and it is expected to show a positive growth rate in 2023.
Figure 2: Oman’s Non-oil Export, 2018-2022.
- Products of Chemicals & Allied Industries’, ‘Mineral Products’, and ‘Base Metals & Articles of Base Metals’ represented approximately 69.9% of total non-hydrocarbon exports, growing in value by 54.6% in 2022.
- Exports in ‘Plastic, Rubber, & Articles Thereof’ grew by 26.9%.
- ‘Live Animals and Live Animal Products’ exports increased by 24.5%.
- ‘Vegetable Products’ exports rose by 5.2%.
- ‘Textiles & Articles Thereof’ experienced a decline of 49.5%.
- ‘Foodstuffs, Beverages, Tobacco & Related Products’ decreased by 6.4%.
UAE, USA, Saudi Arabia, and India continued to be the top importers of Omani non-oil exports, jointly accounting for 43.9% of the total non-oil exports from Oman to the world.
UAE is on top of the list in terms of value exported, reaching a value of 1.20 billion OMR in 2022 compared to 1.23 billion OMR in 2021, a 2% decline in the growth.
Saudi Arabia became the largest destination in terms of growth, as it witnessed an impressive growth of 51.4%, increasing their share in non-oil exports from 9.8% in 2021 to 11.4% in 2022.
At the same time, exports to India and the USA grew by 77.1% and 31.4%, respectively. Non-oil exports to Qatar grew by 35.2% representing 4.6% of total non-oil exports.
Re-exports in 2022 showcased a divergence from the trends seen in both oil and non-oil exports in Oman. These re-exports maintained a comparable level to the previous year in absolute terms, revealing a varied landscape of changes among major re-export items throughout the year.
The largest category within re-exports, encompassing ‘Vehicles, aircraft, vessels & associated transport equipment,’ experienced a notable decline of 29.6% in 2022.
Furthermore, there were contractions observed in other sectors, such as ‘products of chemicals & allied industries’ and ‘live animals and animal products,’ which decreased by 38.8% and 4.2%, respectively, during the same period.
In contrast, ‘foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco & related products,’ ‘base metals & articles of base metals,’ and ‘mineral products’ witnessed increases of 11.9%, 13.2%, and 65.5%, respectively. These shifts resulted in a more distributed composition of re-exports.
The UAE remained the top destination for re-exports despite witnessing an 11.1% decrease, followed by Iran after registering a substantial growth of 34.7% during the year.
Re-exports to Qatar declined by 63.0%, reducing the country’s share in re-exports from 9.7% to 3.6%, taking it to the sixth top destination position in 2022 amidst the lifting of the trade blockade imposed on Qatar by some GCC countries.
Benefits of Credit Oman’s credit insurance covers to Omani Exporters and Omani Banks
- Avoidance or identifying probable losses:
Credit Oman does a critical credit risk analysis on the buyers, their sector, and the potential political risk in the importing country and provides its perception of the risk to help avoid losses.
Further, it has a database of buyers that have a track record of adverse financial indicators, payment default or payment delays which helps in forewarning the exporters who approach for credit insurance covers on such buyers. This access to this database and guidance helps in avoiding potential loss by dealing with such buyers.
- Transfers risk to insurer’s balance sheet:
The exporter at the time of availing the credit insurance protection from Credit Oman transfer the risk of non-payment of the buyer due to insolvency or protracted default from its balance sheet to the balance sheet of Credit Oman to the extent of the cover provided, say 80%. This translates into a stronger balance sheet and ratios and profitability for the exporter.
- Lower bad debt provision:
The provision for doubtful debts, which is also referred to as the provision for bad debts or the provision for losses on accounts receivable, is an estimation of the amount of doubtful debt that will need to be written off during a given period. Put simply, it is a provision – or allowance – for debts that are doubtful.
There are two types of bad debts – specific allowance and general allowance.
Specific allowance refers to specific receivables that you know are facing financial problems, and so may be unable to pay off the debt. General allowance refers to a general percentage of debts that may need to be written off based on business experience as per past records.
Provision for doubtful debts should be included in the exporter’s balance sheet to give a comprehensive overview of the financial state of the business to provide an accurate picture of the amount of working capital that is available to it.
As these potential losses are covered by Credit Oman, the provisioning requirements gets reduced to the extent of the risk retained with the exporter and thereby not largely affecting the working capital.
- Better access to finance:
The credit risks in the trade receivables have been transferred to Credit Oman which helps in improving the credit rating of the exporter. The benefits under the Policy can be assigned by the exporter in favor of their bankers. This enables exporters to have a better negotiated credit facility from their bankers.
- Balance sheet enhancement:
Through Invoice discounting and factoring, the debtor assets can be freed up thus improving the current ratio and the overall balance sheet.
- Replacement to secured transactions:
Credit Insurance acts as a replacement for opening Letters of Credit in transactions. Similarly, this can save issuance of bank guarantees also and thus save the cost, adminstrative efforts, and improve margins.
- Enables exporters to extend credit terms:
The exporters can extend the credit terms to the buyers as the risks have been transferred to Credit Oman which enables the exporter to have a competitive edge in the market over its competitors.
- Fortify credit management processes:
The exporters are expected to have internal credit managements procedures to assess the buyers before finalising orders / contracts. The credit insurance support and experience enable companies to improve / fortify the credit management processes, over a period.
- Access to credit risk expertise and analysis:
Credit Oman expertise helps in fixing the credit limit (the limit of exposure) on the buyers. Moreover, in case of non-payment, it helps the exporter in its management of collection and recovery processes for recovering the receivables.
- Promotes sales growth and diversify markets with sustained controls:
The strengthened upgraded credit management processes supported by credit insurance allow the exporter to safely extend payment terms to its customers and enhance the credit limits in existing and new or developing markets.
- Directs and supports sales to higher margin markets:
Credit Oman’s protection can support increase sales in selected focused markets where there are better opportunities and to markets where the margins are higher.
- Supports mergers and acquisitions:
Credit Oman’s protection helps in insulating the Trade Receivables in the portfolios of acquired or merged entities.
- Prevents exporter accounts turning into Non-Performing Asset (NPA)
The non-payment of Trade Receivables impacts the quality of the asset with the bank. The Bank immediately requests the exporter to pay up the advance granted against the bills of such defaulted buyer and the exporter may not be able to pay this amount immediately. Credit Oman’s cover given to the exporter against the buyer in question and the assignment of the benefits to the bank helps in keeping the account “Standard” and thereby the account does not turn NPA, and the exporter is able to continue doing business normally.