Azerbaijani Government Concerned about Appreciation of American Dollar: Minister

Azerbaijan, Baku, 3 May / corr. Trend I. Khalilova/ The Azerbaijani government is concerned with the high rates of appreciation of the US dollar in relation to other leading world currencies which affects the economy of the country," Samir Sharifov, the minister of finance of Azerbaijan said. First of all, this is due to the fact that foreign trade partners of Azerbaijan indicate the contract value of imported goods not in US dollars, but in other currencies.

"The inflow of oil revenue to the country in USD, therefore a risk of currency difference appears as a result of contract obligations being fulfilled on import goods against which we cannot insure ourselves," the minister said.

On the other hand, the sharp appreciation of the manat against other convertible currencies results in the price rise of goods imported into Azerbaijan. Therefore, the Government plans to take relevant measures, Sharifov said.

Some AZN400mln will be allocated within the measures to protect those of a lower income bracket and to make amendments to the budget forecast for 2008 (raise in the pensions, salary and welfare benefits).

The Azerbaijani government expects 5% consolidation in the exchange rate of the national currency relative to the US dollar in 2008 up to 0.81 manat. This forecast is included in the macroeconomic forecast for 2008.

The consolidation of the manat is a factor that holds inflation. On the other hand, there were serious processes taking place in the world scale last year [when the forecast was developed] including the sharp appreciation of the dollar relative to other leading world currencies. As a result, there was a process of re-evaluation of the dollar assets all over the world.

Apart from this, the government expects a huge influx of oil dollars in 2008 which is indicated in the income of the consolidated budget. Foreign investments in large volumes are also expected to flow into the Azerbaijani economy. It is difficult to assess a further trend, i.e., the change in the rate of the manat to the dollar. The Federal Reserve System of the United States and European Central Bank will lower interest rates and these measures will insure against a further sharp drop.

The official rate for 3 May is 0,829 AZN/USD.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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