US credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) yesterday praised the rapid and smooth transfer of power in the Sultanate of Oman following the death of Sultan Qaboos, saying the transition has reduced “potential risks and regional interventions” in the Gulf Sultanate.
The Omani Royal Court announced the death of Sultan Qaboos on Saturday, after 50 years in power, his cousin Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said was revealed as his successor just hours later.
S&P report said: “After the smooth transfer of power in Oman with a rating of (BB/B with negative outlook), the new Sultan confirmed expectations that the Sultanate will continue to follow the same political approach.”
However, the agency explained at the same time that the new Sultan would face a number of financial and economic challenges due to the global decline in oil prices.
According to the report, the negative outlook for Oman reflects the risks of continued declining financial and external margins in the absence of decisive financial measures to reduce the government’s deficit.
The report notes that Sultan Haitham will face major challenges in the coming months in addressing social issues arising in part from weak economic growth and high unemployment rates among the youth.