Oman establishes credit rating agency

Oman's credit rating agency will collect individual and company data related to loans, delays and defaults
Oman establishes credit rating agency
All financial institutions in Oman are obliged to be members of the bureau.
By Lubna Hamdan
Mon 13 May 2019 10:06 AM

A new Royal Decree will see Oman establish an independent authority, Oman Credit bureau, which will be responsible for rating individual credit history and assessing the creditworthiness of customers and their ability to pay off their debt.

The financial information bureau, which is connected to the Central Bank of Oman, will collect individual and company data related to loans, delays and defaults, as well as salaries, employment or pension information, in order to decide whether or not to give clients credit.

All financial institutions in Oman are obliged to be members of the bureau, the decree states.

“Membership in the centre shall be mandatory for banks, licensed financial institutions, in addition to companies and individuals engaged in financing activities,” it said.

In April, S&P Global Ratings cut Oman’s outlook to negative while confirming its debt score at BB, two levels below investment grade and on par with Paraguay and Serbia.

The sultanate has been struggling since the drop in oil prices in 2014, forcing it to tap into international debt markets to fill budget shortfalls.

Despite its declining reserves, it’s been slow to implement fiscal reforms, raising concerns that it could follow in Bahrain in needing a bailout from wealthier neighbours Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

“The negative outlook reflects our expectation that we could lower our ratings on Oman over the next 12 months if we view the government as unable to moderate external debt accumulation related to still-sizeable fiscal deficits, which we expect will continue to increase through 2022,” S&P analysts led by Zahabia Gupta said in a report.

Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have given Oman one score higher.

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