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Financial News: Fitch Downgrades Oman's Rating Outlook To Negative

Fitch Downgrades Oman's Rating Outlook To Negative

06/20/2017 - 01:31:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Fitch Ratings downgraded Oman's rating outlook to 'negative' from 'stable' citing weak fiscal position and economic activity.

The agency affirmed the ratings at 'BBB'.

Fitch said Oman's fiscal deficit widened to 21.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2016, the highest of any Fitch-rated sovereign. High defense spending and the policy of completing infrastructure projects thwarted the government's efforts to rein in spending in 2016.

The agency forecast the budget deficit to narrow to 11.9 percent of GDP in 2017 on the back of higher oil prices and lower defense and investment spending.

Fitch observed that the risks to fiscal consolidation are high and the credibility and cohesion of the government's approach continues to be tested.

The agency expects real GDP to shrink 0.3 percent in 2017 before rebounding in 2018. The contraction is led by Oman's commitment to cut oil production in line with Opec, Fitch added.

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