Doha : Omani Central Bank Governor Hamoud Al Zadjali said the bank raised the capital adequacy ratio to 12 per cent from 10 per cent effective year-end as a pre-emptive measure to protect lenders.

"It will make them aware that they need to expand their capital if they'd like to expand their balance sheet," Al Zadjali said yesterday in a phone interview. Omani banks already have a capital adequacy ratio of above 14 per cent, he said.

Oman's banks suffered as the global financial crisis squeezed businesses and two Saudi Arabian family conglomerates, Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. and Saad Group, defaulted on debt. Bank Muscat, Oman's biggest bank, said full-year profit fell 21 per cent after provisions for bad loans almost quadrupled. Oman's MSM30 Index has gained 7 per cent this year.

Around 122 million riyals (Dh1.16 billion) of bonds will mature this year so the government will issue roughly the same amount come the second half of the year, Al Zadjali said.

The government is committed to its infrastructure projects and the economy will grow 6 per cent this year compared with about 3 per cent last year, he said.