WHAT IS 'OMR (Oman Rial)'

OMR is the currency abbreviation or currency symbol for the Omani rial, the currency of the Sultanate of Oman. The Omani rial is made up of 1000 baisa. Since the last change in parity in 1986, the Central Bank of Oman has maintained the value of the Omani rial $2.6008.

OMR is issued in banknote denominations of 100 baisa, ​one-half, one, five, 10, 20, and 50 rials. Coins are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 baisa.

BREAKING DOWN 'OMR (Oman Rial)'

OMR became the currency of Oman in 1972, after Sultan Qaboos bin Said officially changed the name of the country to the Sultanate of Oman. Between 1970 and 1972, the OMR was known as the rial Saidi. Prior to 1970, Oman had no national currency of its own, and relied on a mix of foreign monies.

The most important development in the history of the Omani Rial was Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s assumption of power in 1970, after overthrowing his father, Sultan Said bin Taimur, in a palace coup. Qaboos bin Said thereafter embarked on a program of economic reform, including the establishment of a national currency and the establishment of the Central Bank of Oman in 1974 to issue and manage the Omani rial.

The Central Bank of Oman is chaired by Sultan Qaboos bin Said himself, who governs the bank along with six other board members. In 2017, Tahir Bin Salim Al Amri became the central bank’s executive president. He replaced Hamud Sangur Al Zadjali, who served in the post since 1991.

Omani Rial in the global economy

The Central Bank of Oman pegs the value of the Omani rial to the U.S. dollar, at the rate of $2.6008 per rial. The dollar peg helps keep the value of the rial stable, protecting against the volatility that can be imposed upon small, trade-and-resource-based economies like Oman’s. Oman is both a very open economy, with 77 percent of its economic output the result of trade, and one that is heavily dependent on oil, making the economy and the currency heavily influenced by the price of oil.

Like many oil-rich nations, Oman is attempting to diversify its economy away from dependence on oil. Omani officials are directing special attention to manufacturing, tourism, and logistics, given its coastal geography at a key crossroads of the world. Until Oman is able to achieve a more diversified economy, with a more developed financial system, it likely the Omani rial will remain pegged to the dollar.

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