An Arab country on the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern coast, the Sultanate of Oman shipped an estimated US$36.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -27.2% decline since 2014 but a 27.6% upturn from 2017 to 2018.
The latest available country-specific data from 2016 shows that 77.4% of products exported from Oman were bought by importers in: China (43.6% of the global total), United Arab Emirates (7.5%), India (3.8%), Taiwan (3.6%), United States (3.3%), Iraq (3.1%), Saudi Arabia (2.9%), Japan (2.5%), South Korea (2.3%), Yemen (2.1%), Pakistan (1.4%) and South Africa (1.3%).
Given Oman’s population of 4.6 million people, its total $36.9 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $8,000 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
In macroeconomic terms, Oman’s total exported goods represent 18.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($198.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 18.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 22% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Oman’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Oman also provided $35 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 1.8% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Oman’s projected unemployment rate was 15.4% down from 15.5% one year earlier, as estimated by Trading Economics.
Oman’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Omani global shipments during 2018, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Oman.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$30.4 billion (82.2% of total exports)
- Organic chemicals: $1.6 billion (4.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $807 million (2.2%)
- Aluminum: $799.4 million (2.2%)
- Fertilizers: $557.1 million (1.5%)
- Iron, steel: $496.8 million (1.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $465.5 million (1.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $234.1 million (0.6%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $233.6 million (0.6%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $220.7 million (0.6%)
Oman’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, accounting for 96.9% of the country’s overall value of its global shipments.
Gems and precious metals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 431.3% since 2017 propelled by improving international sales of jewelry.
In second place for improving export sales was aircraft and spacecraft which was up by 157.1%.
Oman’s shipments of plastics and plastic articles posted the third-fastest gain in value thanks to a 100.9% gain.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Oman export categories was the ores, slag ash category via a -41.8% drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Oman’s most valuable exported product at 60.8% of the country’s total. In second place were petroleum gases (13.7%) trailed by processed petroleum oils (7.5%), acyclic alcohols (2.4%), cyclic hydrocarbons (1.9%), nitrogenous fertilizers (1.5%), unwrought aluminum (1.3%), plastic plates, sheets, film, tape and strips (1%) then iron ores and concentrates (1%).
Overall Oman generated a $16.8 billion trade surplus for 2018, up by 90.3% from $8.8 billion one year earlier.
The following types of Omani product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$28.5 billion (Up by 40.8% since 2017)
- Organic chemicals: $1.1 billion (Up by 20.5%)
- Aluminum: $725.5 million (Up by 155.7%)
- Fertilizers: $531.6 million (Up by 18.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $440.3 million (Reversing a -$171.8 million deficit)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $185.8 million (Reversing a -$58.2 million deficit)
- Gems, precious metals: $141 million (Reversing a -$989 million deficit)
- Fish: $138.6 million (Up by 517.2%)
- Iron, steel: $116.6 million (Reversing a -$212.2 million deficit)
- Inorganic chemicals: $12.4 million (Reversing a -$192.8 million deficit)
Oman has highly positive net exports in the international trade of petroleum oils as well as petroleum gases. In turn, these cashflows indicate Oman’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil product category.
Below are exports from Oman that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Oman’s goods trail Omani importer spending on foreign products.
- Vehicles: -US$3.1 billion (Up by 165.5% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: -$2.8 billion (Up by 12.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.5 billion (Up by 39.2%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$1.4 billion (Up by 28.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$745.5 million (Down by -12.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$438.6 million (Up by 79.3%)
- Cereals: -$365.7 million (Up by 7.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$339.8 million (Up by 44.5%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$333.2 million (Up by 36.1%)
- Arms, ammunition: -$307.3 million (Up by 97,773%)
Oman has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the vehicles category—particularly cars and, to a lesser extent, trucks and automotive parts or accessories.
Omani Export Companies
One Omani corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000, namely Bank Muscat (regional bank).
Wikipedia also lists export-related companies from Oman. Selected examples are shown below:
- Oman LNG (oil, gas)
- Oman Oil Company (oil, gas)
- Oman Refinery Company (oil, gas)
- Omantel (telecommunications)
- Petroleum Development Oman (oil, gas)
- The Shaksy Group (diversified holding company)
Oman’s capital city is Muscat.
See also Crude Oil Exports by Country, Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports and Top Middle Eastern Export Countries
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 20, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 10, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 20, 2018
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 20, 2018
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 10, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 10, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Oman. Accessed on August 20, 2018
Wikipedia, Oman. Accessed on August 20, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 10, 2019