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Oman bank deposits up 11% despite unrest

The total value of private deposits in commercial banks in the Sultanate rose 11.4 percent year-on-year to OR7.2bn ($18.77bn) at the end of January 2011, according to official figures released on Friday.

Data from the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) indicated that the gross value for the deposits at the end of January broke down into OR2.6356bn ($6.845bn) for term deposits, OR2.127bn ($5.524bn) in savings deposits and OR2.380bn ($6.18bn) in demand deposits, according to the Oman News Agency (ONA).

The CBO bulletin also indicated that foreign currency deposits represented around 14.5 percent of total deposits.

The increase in deposits is welcome news for the Omani banking community, which has struggled to maintain confidence in the sector in the wake of ongoing civil unrest in the country.

Last month, Bank Muscat, Oman’s largest lender by market value, was forced to cut the cash portion of its 2010 dividend by five percent after an order from the CBO.

The lender, a favourite with foreign investors, also saw its share value slip 14 percent in a month as protests against the Oman government prompted foreign investors to shed positions.

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