As expected, cost of living in Oman is on the rise and you should expected lower net income in 2018. According to National Center of Statistics and Information (NCSI) the rate of inflation in the Sultanate in January 2018 increased by 1.05% compared with the same period in 2017. It increased by 0.1% compared with December 2017.
The rise in the price index in January 2018 compared to the same period in 2017 is due to the rise in prices of major groups. Such groups include housing, water, electricity, gas and other. Fuels increase by 0.17% as a result of increasing oil prices. Food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 1.3%. Transportation witnessed a 2.53% increase. Furniture, household equipment and routing household maintenance registered an increase of 1.99%. Education cost also increased by 4.9% which could partially be attributed to hike in teachers’ salaries. Cos of miscellaneous goods and services went up slightly by 0.62%. Health cost rose by 1.88% and tobacco by 1.76%. The prices of the group of restaurants and hotels marginally decreased by 0.01%. Clothing and footwear declined by 0.06%. Communications cost fell by 0.15% during January 2018 compared to the same month in the previous year.
At the governorates’ level, North Al Batinah saw highest increase in inflation by 1.59%. The governorates of North and South Al Sharqia came second by 1.24%. Dhofar governorate was thrid by 0.93%. Muscat governorate registered an increase in CPI by 0.89%. Cost of living in Al Dakhliya rose by 0.75%. Al Buraimi saw a 0.41% increase in CPI.
Compared with the previous month, the consumer price index increased by 0.1%. Prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels went up by 0.07%. Transportation cost went up by 1.78%. Cost of using restaurants and hotels rose by 0.03%. Miscellaneous goods rose by 0.35%. Health cost rose by 1.25%. On the other hand, the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages declined by 1.3%. Furniture, household equipment’s and household maintenance dropped by 0.02%. Recreation and cultural slightly declined by 0.05%. Finally, prices of communications and education remained stable.
Oman Compared to the Rest of the GCC
Consumer Price Index across GCC rose by 1.3% for the 12-month period ending October 2017. UAE registered the highest increase of 1% and Saudi registered a decline in CPI of 0.1%.
Naturally, GCC countries have already or in the process of taking several measures to pump in more into public funds. Apart from hikes in fuel prices and the proposed VAT, there will be some additions to cost of living across the Gulf. Saudi has imposed a levy between SR300 to SR400 on expat dependents. Fees for government services in the region will also increase.
Living Expenses in Oman Moving Forward
Expats in Oman will have to renew their driving license every two years as opposed to ten years in the past. More Fees are likely to affect expats net income. Furthermore, it will be rational to impose additional financial obstacles on employment of expats with over 25,000 unemployed Omanis.