CATEGORY: OBG Business Barometer
The Gulf has had to navigate some challenging terrain in recent times, and in the second half of 2019 these challenges have come in the form of steady escalation of tensions with Iran, which have dominated global headlines emanating from the region.
In the results of our most recent annual OBG Business Barometer: Gulf CEO Survey, 76% of CEOs identified regional political volatility as the biggest external risk (other than movements in commodity prices) facing the region in the short to medium term. Concerns notwithstanding, however, there is a definite sense that the challenging economic circumstances are being successfully managed. When asked what their expectations of the local business environment were for the coming 12 months, 72% of CEOs responded positive or very positive, slightly up from the 70.3% who responded likewise in 2018.
International institutions expect 2019 to be a somewhat difficult year for Oman’s economy – back in April the World Bank said it anticipated GDP expansion of 1.2% for the sultanate in 2019, while in July the IMF revised its 2019 growth forecast to 0.3%, down from the 1.1% it had originally forecast. These sluggish outlooks have their origins in the crash in oil prices from mid-2014, from which the country – and indeed the region – has still not fully recovered.