Oman’s central bank assets rise 1.3% m/m to USD 18.9bn at end-April 2014

By bne IntelliNews May 21, 2014

Oman’s central bank had OMR 7.27bn (USD 18.8bn) worth of assets at end-April 2014, marking a mild 1.3% m/m increase, braking from a 6.4% m/m growth at end-March, the bank said in a statement. The mild m/m growth in April was mainly due to lower placements in foreign banks and a moderate expansion in FX assets, which account for the bulk of the central bank‘s assets. The latter, however, climbed 13.6% year-to-date.

FX assets inched up 1.1% m/m to OMR 7.08bn (97.3% of the total) at end-April, slowing from a 6.6% m/m expansion the month before. The central bank’s foreign securities portfolio grew 3.4% m/m and 16.0% ytd to OMR 5.57bn at end-April. Like other GCC states, Oman invests the bulk of its hydrocarbons windfall in foreign government bonds mainly in the USA. Placements abroad fell 8% m/m to OMR 1.35bn in April.

Oman had OMR 153.9mn worth of reserves assets at the IMF and an OMR 91.7mn IMF currency quota at end-April.

In its latest financial stability report, the central bank underscored that Omani banks boast enough capital to withstand the impact of severe shocks to the country's economy. Omani banks would be able to sustain an average 19 days with cash and 21 days with cash and securities, the central bank said. "Once the liquidity crisis sets in, the banking sector would need liquidity supply to the tune of OMR 2.3bn to sustain for one month," it added. Banks had limited claims on each other within Oman and “appeared to be in favour of overseas placement,” the central bank noted. 

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