The Sultanate of Oman's foreign trade kicked off 2024 on a promising note, according to a recent report by the National Centre of Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The data reveals a positive trajectory, particularly with a significant rise in non-oil exports, signifying progress towards economic diversification.

Encouragingly, non-oil exports witnessed a robust 38.5 % increase, reaching RO 749 million in January 2024 compared to RO 540 million in the same period of the previous year. This is a testament to Oman efforts to expand its export base beyond hydrocarbons.

Import activity, while growing by a noteworthy 10.6% to RO 1,426 million in January 2024, up from RO 1,288 million for the corresponding period of 2023. While a trade deficit persists, the focus on non-oil exports offers a promising path towards a more balanced trade picture.

The report further highlights the diversification efforts by detailing Oman's leading export destinations. Saudi Arabia remains a key partner, absorbing RO 103 million worth of goods (up 82% from the corresponding figure of RO 57 million in 2023), followed closely by the United Arab Emirates with imports reaching RO 86 million.

Notably, South Africa emerged as a promising new market, demonstrating a significant increase in imports. Additionally, the United States displayed a substantial rise in demand for Omani products, while South Korea maintained its steady presence.

Several factors are attributed to this positive performance. The global rise in commodity prices has bolstered the value of Omani exports, making them more competitive in the international market. Furthermore, growing international demand for Omani products in specific markets has played a crucial role. Finally, the Omani government's commendable efforts to foster export development through various initiatives appear to be yielding positive results.

Looking ahead, the report underscores the Sultanate of Oman unwavering commitment to economic diversification. The strategic goal of further augmenting non-oil exports remains a top priority.

With continued focus on export development, a favorable business environment, and foreign investment, Oman is well-positioned for sustained growth in its foreign trade sector.

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