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Azerbaijan’s economy growing, says Fitch report


Fitch Ratings, an international rating agency, has noted improvement in the macroeconomic conditions in Azerbaijan, the agency said in a message.The message reads that in January-September 2018, the economy of Azerbaijan grew by 0.8 percent year-on-year, while the growth rate of non-oil GDP was one percent.Inflation fell sharply from 12.9 percent at the end of 2017 to 2.4 percent by the end of October 2018.According to the message, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) lowered the discount rate to 9.75 percent last month.“The CBA noted a further reduction in external vulnerabilities, with higher average oil prices and stronger non-oil exports pushing the balance of payments further into surplus,” the agency said.“State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) assets rose to $39 billion at end-2017,” according to the message.Further, the agency said that dollarization in the banking sector is falling.“New fiscal rules are expected to be adopted by the parliament before year-end and would create a more prudent fiscal policy framework, including a potential upper limit for expenditure, but it is unclear how binding these rules will be,” the agency reported.Fitch analysts believe the data confirm Azerbaijan’s recovery from the 2014 oil price shock and subsequent policy response, which included exchange rate devaluations, tighter fiscal policy and costly banking sector restructuring.These factors have created space for the authorities to increase investment in the non-oil sector and loosen monetary policy, supporting a gradual increase in lending.

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