Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 15 / Trend N.Ismayilova /
Over the past ten years, the assets of the Azerbaijani banking sector increased by 15 times and population's deposits by 36 times, Chairman of Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) Elman Rustamov said on Friday at the Cabinet of Ministers' meeting dedicated to the socio-economic development in 2010 and the upcoming challenges in 2011. The meeting was chaired by President Ilham Aliyev, the AzerTaj state news agency reported.
"During the report period, the real economy grew by 4 times, exports - 15 times, state budget - 15 times, investment costs - 96 times and strategic currency reserves - 31 times. In 2003-2010, the economic growth in Azerbaijan amounted to 17 percent, which turned the country into a global leader," Rustamov said.
Rustamov said Azerbaijan was able to maintain its stability and development dynamics during the global economic crisis. Thus, over the past three years, the real economic growth on average hit over 8 percent and macroeconomic and financial stability was maintained. In 2008-2010, the country's strategic currency reserves increased by $ 23 billion. Over the past three years the average annual growth in the bank assets exceeded 25 percent, and deposits - 20 percent.
In 2010, the populations' deposits in banks increased by 23 percent and the growth rate of bank assets, loans and total capital exceeded 8 percent. About 2,435 mortgage loans, including 473 on concessional terms, were granted to people in 2010. Thus, 6,200 families took the advantage of this opportunity.
The current account surplus is expected to exceed $15 billion as of late 2010, resulting in a strategic currency reserves exceed $ 29 billion.
"I believe the country has the potential to exceed $ 30 billion in late January. Today, foreign currency reserves exceed 60 percent of GDP, and Azerbaijan leaves behind China, which is possessing the largest amount of foreign currency reserves in the world, on this indicator," Rustamov said.
The reserves cover the country's total debt for more than three times, including private sector debt and public debt, amounting to $9.5 billion, which has become one of the most important indicators of the macroeconomic stability of the country in the context of the crisis, he added.
"We have a goal to keep the growth rate achieved over the past ten years. The country confidently joined the group of middle-income countries, but this group has even higher positions on the scale. To achieve this, the level of national product per capita must be brought to $17,000-18,000. Today, the figure amounts to 10,000 in Azerbaijan," Rustamov added.
Rustamov said this means that in the next ten years, the economy should be re-doubled. In his opinion, it is a real task.
"For this, we must provide 7- 8 percent annual growth, and previously achieved results show that this is quite a feasible task for us," Rustamov said.
The official exchange rate is 0.7974 manat to $1 Jan. 15.