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Oman’s budget recorded a surplus of 357 million rials ($929.7 million) by the end of the first quarter, boosted by a more than 70% rise in oil revenue as output and prices surged, finance ministry data showed.

That compared with a deficit of 751 million rials in the same period a year earlier, the ministry’s monthly bulletin showed.

Gulf oil producers have benefited from the sharp rise in oil prices, which surged past $100 a barrel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February exacerbated concerns about disruptions to global energy supply.

The surplus would be spent on measures to support economic recovery, on development projects and on lowering the debt ratio, the document said.

“We still see the GCC realising fiscal surpluses in 2023, including Oman and Bahrain, supported by the oil price and tight global energy fundamental,” Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said.

“The fact that Oman is looking to reduce its debt levels is positive for strengthening fiscal fundamentals.”

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The Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC is a six-member body including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

The ministry said net oil revenue was 1.565 billion rials at the end of the first quarter, up by 70.2% from the same period a year earlier.

Oman also recorded a more than doubling of gas revenue in the first quarter, the data showed.

The document cited the World Bank predictions that Oman’s economy will grow by 5.6% in 2022, supported by the expansion of more than 8% and 2% in oil and non-oil sectors, respectively.

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