EBRD: Azerbaijan’s GDP growth in 2015 to be highest in Eastern Europe

By: Aynur Karimova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expects that the rate of Azerbaijan’s 2015 GDP growth will be the highest among the countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus.

The bank’s recent report, published on its website, reads that the EBRD has upgraded its forecast of economic growth of Azerbaijan for 2015 and 2016 to 3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

According to the bank’s May report, the GDP growth in Azerbaijan was forecast at 1.5 percent in 2015-2016.

The EBRD noted the high liquidity of the assets of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan and the foreign exchange reserves of the country’s Central Bank which, together, account for about 56 percent of GDP, as of the end of 2014.

Further, bank officials believe that the February 2015 devaluation of Azerbaijan’s national currency, the manat, has helped reduce pressures on the fiscal and external balance of the country.

The International Monetary Fund also increased the expected economic growth of Azerbaijan to 4 percent in 2015. The IMF has maintained its forecast for economic growth at 2.5 percent for next year.

Additionally, the Asian Development Bank reported that it has kept its forecast for economic growth in Azerbaijan at three percent in 2015 and 2.8 percent in 2016.

Also, the World Bank predicts a 2 percent growth in Azerbaijan’s economy in 2015, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development kept the growth forecast at 1.5 percent for 2015-2016.

Fitch Ratings, in turn, expects real GDP growth to reach 2.3 percent.

Economists believe that the main factors that can affect the dynamics of the GDP are oil prices, global competitiveness of the national currency, and funds allocated from the state budget for investment.

The total volume of the country’s GDP in the first half of 2015 amounted to 26.3 billion manats, or 5.7 percent more than in the same period last year, according to Azerbaijan’s State Statistics Committee.

Azerbaijan plans to export products worth $26.8 billion in 2015, some $2.7 billion of which will be goods in the non-oil sector. The Azerbaijani government predicts the share of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan’s GDP to be at 65.1 percent for 2015, which is 5.5 percent higher than the forecasts for 2014 and 8.5 percent higher than in 2013.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS

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