That dollar amount reflects a 5.9% increase since 2016 but a -24.1% reduction from 2019 to 2020.
Oman’s 5 biggest exported products are crude oil, petroleum gases, processed petroleum oils, nitrogenous fertilizers, and semi-finished goods made from iron or non-alloy steel. Combined, those 5 product categories represent over three-quarters (76.8%) of Oman’s total exports by value in 2020. That percentage indicates a concentrated range of exported goods.
Given Oman’s population of 4.44 million people, its total $31.8 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $7,200 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
Oman’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Omani global shipments during 2020, 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$22.5 billion (70.8% of total exports)
- Iron, steel: $2.2 billion (6.9%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.4 billion (4.3%)
- Fertilizers: $1.1 billion (3.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $796.6 million (2.5%)
- Aluminum: $734 million (2.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $448.3 million (1.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $446.8 million (1.4%)
- Ships, boats: $362.2 million (1.1%)
- Fish: $248.6 million (0.8%)
Oman’s top 10 exports accounted for 95% of the overall value of global Omani shipments.
Fish was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 14.9% from 2019 to 2020.
The only other top product category to show expanding export sales was fertilizers via a 4.9% gain.
The leading decliner among Oman’s top 10 export categories was the capital-intensive ships and boats category, thanks to a -52.2% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Oman’s most valuable exported product at 47.3% of the country’s total. In second place were petroleum gases (15.4%) trailed by processed petroleum oils (7.5%), nitrogenous fertilizers (3.4%), semi-finished products made from iron or non-alloy steel (3.2%), iron ore reduced products (2.9%), acyclic alcohols (2.7%), cyclic hydrocarbons (1.5%), unwrought aluminum (1.4%) and iron ores or concentrates (1.1%).
Oman generated an overall estimated $14.1 billion trade surplus for 2020, up by 37.7% from $10.2 billion in black ink 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$21.6 billion (Down by -22.3% since 2019)
- Iron, steel: $1.8 billion (Down by -7.8%)
- Fertilizers: $1.1 billion (Up by 5.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $857.6 million (Down by -24.6%)
- Aluminum: $609.9 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $413.6 million (Up by 13.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $314.8 million (Up by 24.5%)
- Fish: $227.1 million (Up by 33.6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $55.4 million (Reversing a -$60.7 million deficit)
- Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: $2.7 million (Reversing a -$23.5 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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$2.5 billion (Down by -39.7% since 2019)
- Vehicles: -$2.2 billion (Down by -52.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.3 billion (Down by -50.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$907.4 million (Down by -25.1%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$423.9 million (Down by -13.3%)
- Cereals: -$408.5 million (Down by -12%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$356.4 million (Down by -22.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$352.4 million (Up by 8.8%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$350.7 million (Down by -36.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$232.9 million (Up by 56.5%)
Oman has highly negative net exports under the product category titled machinery including computers, which overtook vehicles in 2020.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Oman’s total exported goods represent 22.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($139 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 22.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 17.5% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Oman’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Oman’s average unemployment rate was 5% in 2020, up from 1.8% for 2019 per Trading Economics.
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
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 14, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 14, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 14, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 14, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 14, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 14, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Oman. Accessed on September 14, 2021
Wikipedia, Oman. Accessed on September 14, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 14, 2021
WorldOMeter, Oman Population. Accessed on September 14, 2021