Oman's minister of finance forecast on Saturday GDP in real terms for 2010 at 6.1 percent, and inflation at 3.5 percent, without giving comparative figures for the previous year. Ahmad Mekki, who is also the minister of national economy, told reporters that Oman's total debt as of the end of 2009 stood at 722 million Omani riyals ($1.88 billion), with domestic debt accounting for 252 million riyals of the total figure.

He also said there were no plans to ditch Oman's currency peg to the dollar or to join the Gulf Co-Operation Council Monetary Union at any point in the future.

On Dec. 13 Mekki said he expected the country's economy to have grown by 1-2 percent in 2009, hit by lower oil prices in the second quarter.

The global economic crisis slashed income for Gulf Arab oil producing nations. Non-OPEC Oman was less affected than fellow oil exporters in the region as it was not forced to cut output.

A senior ministry official said in October that the sultanate's economy would grow by 2.5 percent in 2009 in nominal terms due to better performance from its non-oil sectors.

The International Monetary Fund sees GDP growth of 4.1 percent this year, well below 7.8 percent in 2008. (Reporting by Saleh al-Shaibany; Writing by Tamara Walid)

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