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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Oman: Bouncing back | Oman Observer

The lifting of a rating agency’s temporary cloud over the Oman economy and a healthy forecast for GDP growth have combined to create an air of optimism in the Sultanate. On July 20 Standard & Poor’s removed Oman from CreditWatch, with the country’s long-term local and foreign currency rating at A, and the short-term rating at A-1.

The exit from the CreditWatch list, which is used to warn bond issuers of the need to address negative factors that could affect their credit ratings, confirms that the country is recovering well from the unrest that affected the region in the first few months of the year.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos responded quickly when Omanis took to the streets demanding more jobs and a higher minimum wage, as well as seeking tougher measures to fight corruption among government workers. The state increased the minimum wage for nationals working in the private sector by 43 per cent to $520 per month and dismissed several government officials, widely praised actions that seem to have met the demands.

“We have removed the ratings from CreditWatch Negative in light of immediate political pressures easing,” Standard & Poor’s said in a statement. “Aside from an isolated killing in Sohar the protests were largely peaceful, and the quick response of His Majesty to protester demands appears to have eased tensions.”