IMF to correct economic forecasts for Azerbaijan in 2009

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 17 / Trend , I.Khalilova/ The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plans to review conformance of Azerbaijan to the fourth article of the Agreement on establishment of the IMF in Jun. 2009, Valeria Fikera, the head of the IMF mission and deputy director of the IMF Department on Middle East and Central Asia, said in Baku.

"The mission intends to get familiarization with a macroeconomic situation in the country on the background of development of international situation and after it the fund intends to review forecasts on rates of development of economy," Fikera said.

In 2008, forecasts of the IMF are characterized by great uncertainty and general growth rates of the Azerbaijani economy are forecast by 12% in 2009 and inflation - 9% by the end of 2009, she said. Cut of growth rates of inflation has begun in Azerbaijan since Oct. and it has remained high before this, the head of the fund said.

According to preliminary calculations of the IMF, growth rate of non-oil sector of economy will make up about 6% in 2009.

"This figure is less than in previous years. However, forecasts for Azerbaijan are regarded enough positive while taking into consideration that growth rate of the world will practically equal to zero, the head of the fund's mission said, Generally, we assess a situation in Azerbaijan as stable and regard that the country is fully prepared to overcome consequences of the crisis and there is an opportunity to realize integration."

In 2009 the fund expects economic growth in non-oil sector, including manufacture and processing agricultural products, public work, while it is hardly to expect growth in industry, especially in heavy industry, Fikera said.

"Of course, the world crisis will slightly influence on the Azerbaijani economy and economic growth rate will not be so high in 2009, which is conditioned by foreign conditions. However, measures of official bodies will enable to preserve stable growth rate," Fikera said.

It is necessary to pursue protective policy to avoid influence of the crisis on the Azerbaijani economy, she said. "The IMF hails adoption of more cautious budget of Azerbaijan for 2009 and budget expansion will continue in 2009, which in its turn, will enable to protect from influence of negative world tendencies," Fikera said.

She regards reasonable to increase transfers from the State Oil Fund to public budget, which enables Azerbaijan to pursue budget policy to protect economy from recession. In future, the government plans to stabilize amount of transfers to public budget, she said.

A memorable report has been developed on results of the IMF mission's visit from Dec. 10 to 17. It will be divulged next week.

Azerbaijan joined the IMF on Sept. 18 in 1992 and quota of the country at the fund makes up 160.9mln SDR ($248mln). At present Azerbaijan gets only technical assistance of the fund without its loan resources. Azerbaijan's debt before the Fund amounts to $81.9mln on Oct. 1 in 2008. Azerbaijan will pay 55.96mln SDR ($88.9mln) to the fund within the framework of paying off loans from 2008 to 2012.

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