Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 29
The situation on the currency market of Azerbaijan has stabilized, the country's finance minister Samir Sharifov said.
"Panic, which was observed on the market in early January subsided, and as a result of the taken measures the situation has stabilized. Thus, the transition to a floating exchange rate has occurred, the rate of manat is falling, but it is possible that some day it will rise. From now on, the demand will depend on the supply", he said.
According to him, due to the decline in oil prices there is a certain situation in the balance of payments of Azerbaijan: when there were large foreign exchange flows, the balance of payments was almost always positive.
"Today the situation has changed and our foreign exchange earnings declined, however, import needs: i.e. payments made in foreign currency, not so decreased. To eliminate this imbalance and, at the same time, to protect domestic production cheapening of manat was inevitable. And this imbalance in the balance of payments, of course, is the reason for the depreciation of the national currency", he said.
The minister believes that Azerbaijan has sufficient foreign exchange reserves, despite the fact that foreign exchange reserves at the disposal of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan seriously reduced and the assets of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) fell, but only slightly.
But in his view, it is a normal process, as the creation of the SOFAZ on the one hand was aimed at supporting the country in a difficult period and in this situation "we must use resources of the fund to stabilize and balance the situation".
The minister also believes that today Azerbaijan has a need for external borrowing, but there is no an acute need for this.
"At our request the IMF will provide some technical assistance in connection with the implementation of a series of measures in the country's economic sphere. We consider it useful to consult with international experts. It is for this reason the missions of ADB, WB and IMF are in Baku now", Sharifov added.
However, we don't have any need to attract loans urgently, the minister said.
"Azerbaijan is a member of these international organizations, respectively, if necessary we can take loans from them. It is our right. We will continue cooperation with the international financial organizations in the same order, but if necessary we can also approach them for loans", Sharifov underlined.