Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 21
By Ilaha Khalilova - Trend:
The correlation between Azerbaijan's strategic currency reserves and the country's GDP has not changed as of late 2013 and is approaching 70 percent, according to a report on Azerbaijani Central Bank's (CBA) monetary policy for 2013.
The indicator reached this level by late 2012. In 2011 the correlation between strategic currency reserves and GDP was 64 percent, in 2010 - 58 percent, in 2009 - 47 percent, in 2008 - 37 percent.
"For this indicator Azerbaijan is among the top 20 countries in the world. The high growth rate of currency reserves has become the main factor for formation of a strong macroeconomic buffer and reduces the economy's sensitivity to external crises," CBA report said.
Last year's strategic currency reserves rose by nine percent, or $4.1 billion, exceeding $50 billion, which is enough to cover imports of goods and services for about three years, according to the report.
"At the same time, the country's strategic currency reserves exceed the size of the external public debt by about nine times," according to the report.
CBA currency reserves increased by 21 percent, compared with the beginning of the year, and reached $14.1 billion, enough to finance the import of goods and services for nine months.
"As in the previous years, the country's foreign position was at an acceptable level in 2013," CBA said.
The foreign trade turnover of Azerbaijan stood at $34.7 billion, some $24 billion of which accounted for exports and 10.7 billion for imports, according to statistics from Azerbaijani State Customs Committee for last year.
The foreign trade surplus for the year totalled $13.3 billion, and exports exceeded imports by 2.2 times.
Some 48 percent of exports accounted for the EU, 6.3 percent - the CIS, and the rest accounted for other countries. European countries provided 35.1 percent and the CIS countries 23.8 percent of imports.
The non-oil exports in January-November, 2013 amounted to $1.6 billion, exceeding the figure for the same period the year before by 7.4 percent, according to the State Statistics Committee.
The highest figure of exports last year was provided in February (13 percent more than the average monthly exports), while the highest figure in imports accounted for May (36 percent more than the average monthly import).
The lowest export level was provided in June (20 percent less than the average monthly exports), while imports - in January (30 percent less than the monthly average of imports).
"The exports of liquefied gas, cotton fiber, vegetables, polyethylene, sugar and other commodities are rising with high rates. At the same time, imports of beef, potatoes, cement, steel, metals, wheat, tea and other products increased," according to the report.
Overall the decline in imports of several food products indicates domestic production's expansion. Thus the level of self-sufficiency for most agricultural products (cucurbitaceous plants, vegetables, fruits and berries) and some food products reached 100 percent this year
The change in export prices last year was influenced by changes in world prices for energy products, according to the report. The prices for imported consumer and investment goods remained stable, and intermediate products rose slightly.
State Statistics Committee said that the volume of foreign investments in the country's economy last year, stood at $5.3 billion, increasing by more than 28 percent.
The official exchange rate for February 21 is 0.7845 AZN/USD.
Translated by E.A.
Edited by C.N.