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Tue 5 Jan 2010 07:56 PM

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Oman 2009 trade surplus down 32% - minister

Fall in oil prices in 2009 prompts fall despite 7% increase in average oil output.

Oman's foreign trade surplus fell 32 percent to $11.43 billion in 2009 compared to a year earlier due to a fall in oil and gas exports, its economy minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Reuters, Ahmad Mekki said: "The preliminary figures indicate that the hydrocarbon exports decreased by 41 percent due to a fall of oil prices in 2009."

He said non hydrocarbon exports increased by 16 percent and reexports grew by 14 percent in 2009 over the previous year.

Without giving figures, Mekki said: "Due to the domestic demand fall, overall imports dropped by 23 percent in 2009 compared to 2008."

Oman sold its oil at an average price of $56.7 per barrel in 2009, down 44 percent from the previous year.

The non OPEC producer's average oil output was 810,000 barrels per day in 2009, about 7 percent more than in 2008. (Reuters)