DUBAI- Oman posted a year-to-date budget deficit of around 1 billion rials ($2.60 billion) in August, a 46.2% annual decline in its fiscal shortfall, the ministry of finance said, benefiting from higher oil prices.

Year-to-date state revenues increased by 13.9% to 6.3 billion rials by the end of August when compared to the same period last year.

"Such an increase is reflected by improved oil and gas prices over the past months", the ministry said in a statement.

Public spending increased by 1.7% year on year.

A relatively small oil producer, Oman is more sensitive than its hydrocarbon-rich Gulf neighbours to oil price swings, meaning it was hit especially hard by the price crash in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide economic lockdowns.

S&P Global Ratings said on Saturday it had revised its outlook on Oman to positive from stable due to the higher oil prices and its fiscal reform plans, which are expected to narrow state deficits and slow a rise in debt levels over the next three years. 

($1 = 0.3840 Omani rials)

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia Editing by Gareth Jones) ((; +971522604297; Reuters Messaging: