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Oman bank credit growth down in Jan-April

Posted on: June 19, 2009


Reuters – Thursday, June 18

MUSCAT, June 17 – Bank lending in Oman rose 26 percent in the first four months of 2009 but its growth rate dropped by nearly half compared to a year earlier due to less credit to the public sector, central bank data showed.

Across the Gulf region, banks have become more cautious about extending new loans to the public sector during the global recession, leading to either gradual declines or a slowdown in credit growth.

In Oman, bank lending to public enterprises grew by just 7.2 percent to 454.9 million rials in the four months to April compared to the same period a year earlier.

Credit to public enterprises had more than doubled in the first four months of 2008 to 424.5 million rials from the same period a year earlier.

The combined credit extended by the local banks in the first four months of 2009, including loans to the government and the public sector, climbed 26 percent to 9.5 billion rials.

The total lending of local financial institutions increased 49.7 percent to 7.5 billion rials in the first four months of 2008 compared to 2007.

Deposits at Omani banks rose to 6.345 billion rials in the four months to April this year from 5.93 billion rials.

(Reporting by Saleh al-Shaibany; editing by Nicolas Parasie and Firouz Sedarat)

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