International Monetary Fund updates its forecast for Uzbekistan real GDP growth
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 17
By Ilkin Seyfaddini - Trend:
While the immediate focus of Uzbekistan is on addressing the impact of the pandemic, the medium-term goal is to achieve stronger, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth and improve living standards, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Senior Economist for Lawrence Dwight Uzbekistan told Trend in an interview.
"Like other countries around the world, Uzbekistan has been negatively affected by the COVID crisis. This has both external and domestic elements. Externally, trading partners like China and Russia slowed down, reducing Uzbekistan’s exports. Remittances from workers abroad and most commodity prices have also declined. Domestically, containment measures to address the pandemic have also reduced activity, particularly in services sectors like travel, tourism, transportation, and restaurants,” said Dwight.
He added that in some ways, the impact of the pandemic on Uzbekistan has been less than in other countries.
“As in past global crises, the price of gold - Uzbekistan’s largest export - has risen and remittances have fallen less than expected. Also, China is starting to recover, which will help. The IMF is currently projecting growth of real GDP of 1.5 percent in 2020,” Dwight stressed.
According to IMF's data, official gold reserves of Uzbekistan accounted for 342.8 tons as of August 1, 2020.
The senior economist of IMF stressed that Uzbekistan took strong action early in the COVID crisis.
“This included implementing containment measures and establishing an Anti-Crisis Fund of about $1 billion, focused on increasing expenditures on healthcare, the social safety net, and investment to moderate the economic downturn. Moreover, the Central Bank of Uzbekistan reduced its policy rate from 16 to 15 percent and the government provided a fiscal stimulus of about 4-5 percent of GDP,” he said.
Lawrence Dwight believes that these should be effective in reducing the depth of the COVID crisis, although it cannot offset it entirely.
Earlier, IMF forecast a 4.2-percent growth in Uzbekistan's real GDP in 2021 in its Regional Economic Outlook Update on the Middle East and Central Asia dated July 14, 2020
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