IMF to send mission to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 27 / Trend I.Khalilova /

In order to discuss the macroeconomic situation in Azerbaijan and its prospects a mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), headed by Deputy Director of the Department of Middle East and Central Asia (MCD) Nadeem Ilahi will arrive in Baku on April 24, the Azerbaijani government told Trend on Monday. The mission will be in Azerbaijan till May 3.

"The main purpose of the assessment of short-and medium-term objectives of the Government on the prospects of economic development is usually to determine priorities for discussion on Article IV of the agreement with the IMF, under which consultations are held in the autumn," a source in the government said.

During the visit it is also expected to discuss areas of technical assistance of the Monetary Fund, the situation in the banking sector, the implementation of fiscal, monetary, exchange rate policy, macroprudential and oversight activities held in the country to enhance financial stability.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) developed two scenarios for development of the Azerbaijani economy as a result of consultations with the country's government on Article IV.

According to the baseline scenario, the IMF forecasts GDP growth in Azerbaijan to be 3.7 per cent in 2012, 1.9 per cent in 2013, 2.8 per cent in 2014, 2.9 per cent in 2015 and 3 per cent in 2016.

The IMF estimates growth of oil GDP to be 1 per cent in 2012, 2.6 per cent decrease in 2013, 0.1 per cent in 2014, 0.1 per cent in 2015 and a 0 per cent growth in 2016.

The IMF estimates growth of non-oil GDP to be 6 per cent in 2012, 5.5 per cent in 2013, and 5 per cent in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

According to the baseline scenario, the IMF forecasts inflation rate to be 7.4 per cent in 2012, 6.7 per cent in 2013, 6.5 per cent in 2014, 6.5 per cent in 2015 and 6 per cent in 2016.

Current account balance is estimated to be 18.8 per cent of GDP in 2012, 15.1 per cent - 2013, 11 per cent - 2014, 8.4 per cent - 2015 and 6.7 per cent in 2016.

Oil Fund assets according to the IMF forecast will amount to $33.8 billion in 2012, $37.4 billion in 2013, $41.8 billion in 2014, $47.2 billion in 2015 and $54 billion in 2016.

When making crisis scenario, the IMF took into account risks with regard to oil prices and regional development. Nevertheless, the IMF believes assets of the Oil Fund should ensure sufficient buffer against possible shocks including sustainable and dramatic decrease of oil prices to $50 per barrel.

In case of the crisis scenario, the IMF forecasts GDP growth of Azerbaijan to be 3.8 per cent in 2012, 1.5 per cent in 2013, 2.1 per cent in 2014, 2.1 per cent in 2015 and 2.1 per cent in 2016.

The IMF estimates growth of oil GDP to be the same in this case like in the baseline scenario.
The IMF forecasts non-oil GDP growth to be 6.2 per cent in 2012, 4.8 per cent in 2013, 3.8 per cent in 2014, 3.6 per cent in 2015 and 3.6 per cent in 2016.

According to the crisis scenario, the IMF forecasts inflation rate to be 7.7 per cent in 2012, 5.8 per cent in 2013, 5.3 per cent in 2014, 5.1 per cent in 2015 and 5.3 per cent in 2016.

According to the forecast, current account balance will decrease by 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2012, 0.5 per cent in 2013, 1.2 per cent in 2014, 2.4 per cent - 2015 and 3.3 per cent in 2016.

Oil Fund assets according to the IMF forecast may decrease to $22.7 billion in 2012, $15.7 billion in 2013, $9.7 billion in 2014, $4.8 billion in 2015 and $1 billion in 2016.

For seven years the government of Azerbaijan has been cooperating with the IMF at the level of consultations under Article IV, so the prospects for cooperation on a program basis are virtually not touched upon during the visits.

The Fund began lending in 1995. Until now, the IMF has allocated to Azerbaijan loans for six programs. Azerbaijan will continue repayment of loans previously borrowed from the Fund until 2013.

Permanent Mission of the IMF began functioning in Azerbaijan in 1993, but cooperation with the government began in 1992. However, in 2009 the IMF decided to withdraw the head of the Fund's Azerbaijani office and reduce its staff in the country. Today, the IMF Baku office is managed by the regional office for Central Asia and Caucasus.

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