ADB predicts rise in GDP growth in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 23 /Trend A.Akhundov/

GDP growth will reach 4.1 percent in Azerbaijan for 2012, and up to 3.5 percent in 2013, which will reflect the increase in oil production and the non-oil sector's expansion.

It is stated in the report of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Asian Development Outlook 2012.

"Moderate increase in oil production due to the completion of the modernization of infrastructure in extractive infrastructure is forecasted in 2012, while the expected opening of the new gas platforms may increase gas production with increase of needs" the
report says.

However, the continuing recession in the euro area may limit the demand for oil and, consequently, the growth in its production. In addition, a sharp drop in oil prices could lead to government measures to curb the production volumes.

"Growth in the oil sector will affect the areas of transport, communications, wholesale and retail trade, in particular, the development of new rail and sea transport routes for oil
transportation. Current road projects will stimulate the transport sector, while agricultural projects and subsidies for import of seeds will enhance agricultural production. These measures will also encourage farmers to switch attention to the production of cash
crops," the report says.

It is expected that the services sector will largely be provided by trade and tourism in 2012.

"The investment program of the government should support the industry and construction sector through the expansion of infrastructure by increasing demand for local production of cement, steel pipes and other building materials. Development and improvement of business
climate will increase job opportunities within the country," the report says.

According to State Statistics Committee, Azerbaijan's GDP grew by 0.1 percent amounted to 50.1 billion manat in current prices in 2011.

Non-oil sector has increased over the past year by 9.4 percent to 48.3 percent of GDP. The share of oil and gas sector and processing industries amounted to 51.7 percent of GDP, while reducing output by 9.3 percent.

GDP rose by 0.5 percent to 12.3 billion manat in the first quarter. GDP in the non-oil sector grew by 7.7 percent and decreased by 4.7 percent in the oil.

The official exchange rate on April 23 is 0.7860 AZN/USD.

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