Monetary sector (First quarter of 2010)

Moderate growth rates of banking indicators from early 2010 confirm the caution of the banking system in the context of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis. Noteworthy is that today the national banks do not feel the need for support from the Central Bank. In the context of low inflation, for population it is more profitable to invest their free resources in the deposit than in any business. As a result, banks are now engaged in attracting deposits and the high interest on them and the problems of banks in the placement of attracted funds even leads to excess liquidity in some banks.  

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan has already sent the next "message" to the banking sector about the preparations for post-crisis period.

Now the central bank is developing a new regulatory framework in three areas - management of capital adequacy, liquidity management and financial reserve. Under the existing legislation, regulatory requirements for capital adequacy hit 12 percent and liquidity co-efficincy was defined as 30 percent. The minimum capital for existing and newly established banks is 10 million manat.

The level of capital adequacy of Azerbaijani banks hits 19-20 percent compared to a standard of 12 percent, Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) Elman Rustamov said today.

"Stress tests conducted by CBA showed that the banking sector is at a fairly steady level. The banking sector has a level of capital adequacy, exceeding the standards of the CBA by about eight percent", Rustamov said.

He said that today business - organizations have unpaid debts to Azerbaijani banks, which affects the quality of their loan portfolios negatively.

Rustamov said that one of the positive trends of the banking market in the country is a significant reduction in interest rates, as well as dynamic growth of this index, as public deposits.

The model of future development of Azerbaijani banking sector should be directed to the qualitative development of the system, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan chairman Elman Rustamov said.

"The global crisis has shown that relying only on the rapid growth of bank indices is wrong approach. It is necessary to increase with quality. I think that banks should grow and develop in terms of human capacity, automation, and many other areas in which we should catch up," Rustamov said.

At present, we must draw the qualitative aspects of banking development.

He said that the new banking model should be a two-tier (now a three-stage banking model is applied in Azerbaijan), because the state banking system is inefficient. At present, Azerbaijan has one semi-state Bank - International Bank of Azerbaijan. Its authorized capital hits 50.2 percent share of governmental participation.

"If Agricultural Bank is formed in the country, terms of its privatization will be immediately announced. I support the private banking sector, which showed the effectiveness and the global crisis," Rustamov said.

The idea is that after the formation of the agricultural bank, its privatization will be announced as soon as possible. Given that all efforts are aimed at minimizing the consequences of the crisis and monitoring its movement in the global economy, establishing the agricultural bank at this stage is not yet discussed in the government of the country. In general, the agricultural bank is supposed to be established on the basis of non-banking credit organization Agrarcredit.

As seen, the global crisis forces to again look at the principles of regulation of financial markets and financial institutions to discuss their effectiveness. One of the most important and challenging tasks of each bank is to determine a proper course of development based on analysis of the current micro and macro-economic situation. To achieve the goals, the banks should improve the qualifications of staff for effective implementation of corporate governance standards, which as a result contribute to the development of internal management and control.

In this regard, recently the Central Bank tightened the requirements for the country's banking system to improve its infrastructure. In particular, the banks need to improve corporate governance and risk management, update operating systems.

Currency market and rates of AZN

In 2010 the Central Bank continues the policy of maintaining stable exchange rate of manat, which during the crisis was the main anchor of economic stability, unlike the national currencies of other countries. During the post-crisis period, the country will also need a stable manat to accelerate economic development and eliminate the consequences of the crisis. Over the past two months, the rate of manat in relevant to the USD dropped by 0.06 percent.

A fundamental factor for maintaining stable exchange rate of manat was black ink of payments. Particularly due to the surpluses of payments and temporary tension in the currency market, the Central Bank considered it expedient to suppress the possibility of devaluation of the manat. Ensuring the stability of the manat due to the accumulated currency reserves has helped eliminate the psychological tensions in the currency market already in the second quarter of last year.

Official foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan as of the first quarter of 2010 amounted to $5.510 billion, the bank said.

"This figure increased by 6.7 percent or $348.3 million compared to early 2010," the message said.

In 2009, strategic currency reserves increased to $3 billion, surpassing $ 20 billion. The figure reached $22 billion as of the first quarter of 2010.

Unlike the rate of the American currency, since early 2010 the euro strengthened by 7.05 percent. The rate of manat in relevant to the euro was more volatile as experienced greater variability. If in the beginning of the year the euro totaled 1.1575 AZN, in the end of the reported period, it was 1.0759 AZN.

As a result of currency auctions on USD/AZN_TOD in March 2010 on Baku inter-bank currency exchange, Joint-stock commercial ASB Bank was at the top of five banks-leaders of exchange currency market in accordance with share of concluded deals in summary turnover of currency auctions, the Baku inter-bank currency exchange reported.

Unibank, AGBank, Bank of Baku, Pasha Bank joined the number of leading dealers of organized currency market.

Banks

Of total volume, (%)

Azerbaycan Senaye Banki

51,78

Unibank

17,10

AGBank

16,85

Bank of Baku

10,38

Pasha Bank

1,51

Deals by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan are not taken into account.

About 10 banks participated in BBVB currency auctions in March 2010. About 34 trade sessions were conducted in Exchange E-Auction System in reported month. About 27 deals were registered. Total amount of currency auction on USD/AZN totaled 32,891 million manat or $40,942 million in the reported month.

Total amount of auction in currency section decreased 16.2 million manat or 33 percent in the reported month.

Daily turnover in exchange E-system of auction on USD/AZN reached $2,408 million. Average amount of each deal hits $2,408 million. In January-March the total turnover in exchange E-system of auction on USD/AZN reached 145,818 million mant.

Exchange rate of national currency in instrument USD / AZN_TOD in the report month remained at 0.8035 manat to $1. This average exchange rate of the dollar against the manat in March amounted to 0.8034 manat per $1 compared to 0.8030 manat in February 2010.

Monetary market

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan stated growth in the expanded money base by 5.1 percent in March 2010 compared to January with an increase of 0.2 percent since early 2010 amid 31 percent rise in annual calculation. In 2009 its level decreased by 1.13 percent compared rise by 44.27 percent in 2008.

According to the CBA, as of April 1, 2010, the amount of reserve money totaled 4.916.7 million manat compared to 4.677.8 million manat as of March 1, 4.594.7 million manat as of Feb. 1 and 4.907.7 million manat as of Jan. 1, 2010.

As of April 1, 2010 the monetary base in manat was 4.902 million manat compared to 4.658.1 million manat and 4.559.1 million manat and 4.861 million respectively. The monetary base, purified by seasonal factors (5.033.8 million manat) grew by 4.5 percent in March, 14.7 percent since the beginning of the year and 32.3 percent in an annual calculation.

In 2009 money base in manat rose by 1.7 percent, while money base, cleared of seasonal factors by 1.1 percent compared to 2008. The level of bank reserves since the beginning of the year fell by 27.1 percent and as compared to the same period of 2008. This is associated with a reduction of reservation norms

In mln manat

01.04.2009

01.01.2010

01.04.2010

1.

Reserve money

3751,8

4907,7

4916,7

2.

Reserve money in manat

3702,1

4861,0

4902,0

3.

Money in circulation

3571,6

4512,7

4608,1

4.

Bank reserves

178,0

392,0

301,4

In March, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan noted the increase in money supply (M2) by 5.6 percent and 30.4 percent compared to March 2009.

So, as of Late March, the rate of M2 was 6182.6 million manat compared to 5853.1 million as of March 1 and 4740.9 million manat as of April, 1 2009.

The amount of cash money supply (M0) as of April 1 hit 4312.1 million manat compared to 4083.9 million manat as of March 1 and 3304.1 million manat as of April, 1 2009.

As of Late March 2010, Broad Money Supply (M3) totaled 8673.4 million manat compared to 8132.6 million manat as of March 1 and 6397.4 million manat as of April, 1 2009.

The transaction money (M1) amounted to 5190.7 million manat compared to 4982.5 million manat as of March 1 and 4088.3 million manat as of April, 1 2009.

Объем, 01.04.2010

Money mass in extensive understating (М3)

8673,4

Money mass on manat (М2)

6182,6

Cash in manat (М0)

4312,1

Non-cash in manat

1870,5

Parameters of monetary market, in mln manat

Loan market 

Azerbaijani banks increased lending to the economy of Azerbaijan in March by 1.7 percent, compared to March 2009 - by 36.4 percent, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan said.

As of April 1, the banks issued loans for 8,485,2 million manat (including 5,044.3 million manat in national currency and 3.4409 billion manat in hard currency) compared to 8,343,5 million manat (4,852,7 million manat and 3490.8 million manat) March 1 and 6221,3 million manat (3,472,2 million manat and 2,749,1 million manat) on April 1, 2009.

In March, the share of loans in domestic currency was 68,2 percent, in foreign currency - 31,8 percent.

Loans and advances of the total portfolio worth 355.9 million manat were expired compared to 358.4 million manat by March 1, about 195.9 million manatby April 1, 2009. Statistics of expired loans does not account for similar loans of Aqrarkredit non-banking credit organization.

Short-term loans during the reporting period amounted to 2.2889 billion manat (174.5 million manat including expired loans) compared to 2210.1 million manat (177.7 million manat including expired loans) as of March 1, about 2070.2 million manat (118,1 million manat) as of April 1, 2009. In March the amount of short term loans in the economy increased by 3,6 percent,  compared to March 2009 - by 10,6 percent.

Long-term loans amounted to 6196.3 million manat (181.5 million manat including expired loans) compared to 6133.3 million manat (180.7 million manat including expired loans) as of March 1, about 4151.1 million manat (77.7 million manat) as of April 1, 2009. In March the volume of long-term loans increased  by 1.02 percent, compared to March 2009 - by 49.3 percent.

As of April 1, the only public bank in the country (International Bank of Azerbaijan) granted loans worth 3,923.4 million manat with a specific gravity of 46.2 percent (decreased by 0.5 percent in March), but private banks -  4,378,7 million manat with a specific gravity of 51.6 percent (an increase of 3.8 percent). The remaining 2.2 percent fall to non-bank credit organizations, which granted 183.2 million manat.

As of April 1, the average rate on bank lending to the economy of Azerbaijan in national currency amounted to 13.99 percent compared to 15.84 percent as of March 1, 17.42 percent as of April 1, 2009, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan reported.

Average interest rate on bank lending in hard currency amounted to 15.4 percent compared to 17 percent and 18.51 percent, respectively.

As of beginning of April, the average rate on bank lending to legal entities in national currency hit 11.6 percent compared to 13.88 percent as of March 1, 14.8 percent as of April 1, 2009. The average rate on bank credits to corporate clients in hard currency was 12.55 percent compared to 14.45 percent and 16.61 percent, respectively.

In this period, the average rate on bank lending to individuals in national currency amounted to 19.93 percent compared to 20.75 percent as of March 1 and 21.65 percent as of April 1, 2009. Average interest rate on bank credit to the individual clients in hard currency was 22.09 percent compared to 23.32 percent and 22.26 percent respectively

Banking sector

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan states positive dynamic of attracting deposits from individuals. It is significant that it is dealt with increase of non-residents' in the country's banks and their share is 230 million manat.

Non-residents increased amount of deposits in Azerbaijani banks by 24 percent over three months and CBA Managing Board Chairman Elmar Rustamov belives that this is the best proof for quality of the county's banking system and its high foreign estimation.

Azerbaijani banks' deposit base increased by 5.7 percent in March compared to February, and 31.8 percent compared to March 2009.

According to the CBA, total amount of banking deposits and deposits of legal entities and individuals made up 4.683.4 million manat as of late March compared to 4.430.4 million manat as of Feb. 1, 3.554.2 million manat at the beginning of March 2009. Some 1.845.3 million manat of this sum fell on deposits in manat and 2.838 million manat on currency.

In March individual deposits reduced by 1.1 per cent, while corporate deposits increased by 14 percent.

Individuals' deposits rose by 35 percent and corporate clients' deposits by 28.5 percent compared to 2009

By the end of March the amount of individual deposits in the banks of the country amounted to 2.395 billion manat compared to 2.422.8 million manat on March 1, about 1.773.7 million manat on March 1, 2009.

On April 1 the volume of deposits of legal entities amounted to 2.288.4 million manat compared to 2.007.6 million manat on March 1, about 1.780.5 million manat by April 1, 2009.

Average rate on deposits in manat as of April 1, 2010, amounted to 11.40 percent compared to 11.30 percent as of March 1, 11.46 percent as of April 1, 2009, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan reported.

Average rate on deposits in foreign currencies amounted to 11.09 percent compared to 10.99 percent and 11.28 percent respectively.

As of April1, 2010, the average rate on deposits of individuals in manat was 13.09 percent compared to 13 percent as of March 1, 12.41 percent as of the beginning of April 2009. Average rate on deposits from individual customers in foreign currencies amounted to 12.58 percent compared to 12.54 percent and 12.62 percent respectively.

As of beginning of April, the average rate on deposits of legal entities in manat was 5.36 percent compared to 5.60 percent as of March 1, 9.19 percent as of April 1, 2009. Average rate on deposits from corporate clients in foreign currency amounted to 5.88 percent compared to 5.92 percent and 6.78 percent respectively.

Today, the minimum authorized capital for banks is 10 million manat. Over several years the CBA did not consider increase of normative requirement on statutory capital of banks active in the country. However, the Azerbaijani banks suffered losses in connection with the global financial crisis. Each bank has estimated the losses and has private capitalization program for rehabilitation. Shareholders of the bank are tasked to increase capital with the consideration of future risks caused by losses.

Because of the failure to implement this requirement, four banks have been prohibited to attract deposits, and currently, their deposit portfolio has been reduced to zero, since sanctions, they have not attracted deposits, and the current term of deposits has expired. This year a ban was put on another bank.

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is ready to give an opportunity to banks that are unable to maintain this status to transform into non-banking credit organizations (NBCO). The mechanism of this transformation is being devised at the level of legislation.

During the crisis period it is inexpedient to apply quantitative changes in the banking market of Azerbaijan, Elman Rustamov, the chairman of the Central bank of Azerbaijan Managing Board, believes. Any progress in this direction may affect the stability in the country's banking sector, he explains.

With consideration of these facts, the CBA has not similar plans. "We are not going to close banks, but are eager to support stability in the market."

"No serious Central Bank will take such actions in the period of instability in the global financial system. We regard the CBA as a serious organization," Rustamov said.

Earlier, it was stated that 15-20 banks are enough for the economy of Azerbaijan, while presently the CBA adhere a policy of reducing their number though consolidating, but mot liquidating the banks. The CBA makes these recommendations to weak banks, which cannot stand the rivalry in the market, while there is no progress in this direction.

According to banking sector specialists, consolidation is a very complicated process and not every bank will take this step taking into account the shareholders interests. Some shareholders are obliged to leave the bank while merging. Respectively, it might mean loss of clientele, which has formed with consideration of shareholders' interests. Some leading banks are prepared to select for merger a bank out of "weak group" having a micro-financial portfolio, though this variant is quite difficult to find.

At present only 15-20 among 47 banks are forming the system. The international financial organizations also take interests in acquiring stake in the stock capital of Azerbaijani banks. They are particularly prepared to back their merger.

The banking has a successful experience of consolidation of banks with the participation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The present UniBank was formed as a result of merger of two commercial banks - MBank and Promtexbank in 2002, when the EBRD acquired 15-percent stake.

International organizations also intend to participate in the development of institutional development programs and corporate governance of banks, risk management, the process of training, technical support, etc. All these should stimulate the banking sector.

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) is interested in consolidatng the country's banking sector, CBA Credit Organizations Supervision Department Director Rashad Orujov said today.

"Consolidation is a long-term process in the banking sector. In 1994-1995, the country's banking sector consisted of 250 banks and now their number is 47," he said. "A decline in their number is just a part of the process of consolidation, which passed quite calmly for a long period."

The CBA has not established a time-frame for banks in the process of merging.

"As the CBA, we are interested in banks merging, strengthening, and raising capital because there is a need for funding major projects and we need big players on the market," Orujov said.

Support from international financial organizations is needed in this process, he added.

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan noted that in March 2010 the aggregate capital of the banking system of the country fell from 1.758.9 billion manat at the beginning of the year to 1.758 billion manat.

As a result, this month it fell by 0.1 percent, but on an annualized basis, rose by 12.9 percent.

According to statistics from the Central Bank, Azerbaijani bank assets grew by 3.1 percent compared to December last year. As of April 1, 2010 the assets of Azerbaijani banks amounted to 12.03 billion manat compared to 11.568.1 billion as of March 1, 11.5874 billion manat as of February 1, 11.6652 billion manat as of January 1, 2010. For comparison, as of April 1, 2009 the assets totaled 8.815 billion manat.

In the first quarter of 2010, the total number of credit organizations operating in the country, based on the authorization of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, increased by three to 145.

As of April 1, 98 non-bank credit institutions operate in Azerbaijan compared to 96 in late 2009. The number of non-banking credit organizations, funded by international humanitarian organizations, has remained unchanged. There are 18 organizations.

During the reporting period, about 47 banks got licenses to conduct banking activities in the territory of the Republic. Their number has increased as a result of the issuance of licenses by the Central Bank in late March to another bank with the Azerbaijani capital - BTB Bank.

The bank said that at present, there are two banks are in the process of liquidation. Last year, there were no quantitative changes on the country's banking market. The number of banks decreased by two as a result of revocation of licenses of two banks in 2008 - Poctbank and Atlantbank. Permissions for banking activities were given to Nahchivanbank and Azfinans Bank. About 23 banks are operating in Azerbaijan with foreign capital. Weight of foreign capital has been formed from 50 to 100 percent in seven banks, up to 50 percent - in 14 banks. Other two local branches of foreign banks are also operating.

The number of banks' branches operating abroad hits nine, including six representations, two subsidiaries and a branch. About four representations of foreign banks also operate in Azerbaijan

There are 23 banks with foreign capital in the country, as a year earlier. The share of foreign capital in seven of them is formed in the range from 50 to 100 percent, in 14 banks - up to 50 percent. Two local branches of foreign banks also operate.

The number of banks' departments operating abroad is nine, including six offices, two subsidiaries and one branch. There are also four representative offices of foreign banks in Azerbaijan.

The number of branches of local banks amounted to 631 compared to 626 in late 2009. The only semi-Bank has 38 branches (their number remained unchanged last year). Accordingly, the remaining 593 branches are established by private commercial banks, increased by 5 offices during the first quarter and 46 - during the year.

Some banks are facing a problem of excessive liquidity, which finally reduces their profitability. The major problem is linked with slowdown in the country's economy by force of global financial developments.

The number of profitable banks in Azerbaijan was 33 in March. The number is four less than in March 2009 and one - than the previous month.

The total profit of the banking system decreased by 50 percent compared to March 2009 and increased by 25.4 times compared to previous months, reaching 38.09 million manat.

The number of unprofitable banks increased by one compared to February and four - compared to March 2009. 13 banks lost 19.3 million manat, which is 0.1 percent less than the figure in February and exceeds by 2.6 times the same period of 2009.

Financial results of bank activities (after tax payments) in million manat:

Periods

Number of banks operating with profit

Total profit of bank system (on profitable banks)

Number of banks operating with losses

Total losses of bank system (on unprofitable banks)

Summary profit(+) or losses (-), of banks

01-04-2008

36

53,08

9

6,93

46,15

01-04-2009

37

87,07

9

7,41

79,66

01-04-2010

33

57,39

13

19,3

30,09

Stock market

The total volume of transactions for all securities traded on the Baku Stock Exchange in January-March 2010 amounted to 377.385 million manat, a cut by 4.9 times.

Reaching 69.32 million manat, the corporate securities market fell by 37.18 percent compared to the same period in 2008. This is explained by cut in the amount of stock operations by over four times, though number of deals increased by 46 percent to 1,334.

The state securities market also decreased 5.9 times to 308.064 million manat. It occurred under the impact of 6-fold cut in repo-operations, though the number of deals reduced inconsiderably (by 3.57 percent).

Comparative table on the results of trades of Corporate Securities at BSE

(January-March 2010):

Market segments

2010 (March 31)

2009 (March 31)

Percentage ratio

Volume of transactions (manat)

Number of transactions

Volume of transactions (manat)

Number of transactions

Corporate bonds- (placement)

19,183,106.26

30

0.00

0

-

Corporate bonds - (secondary market)

24,426,786.55

19

2,299,815.00

11

1062.12%

Total Corporate Bonds

43,609,892.81

49

2,299,815.00

11

1896.23%

Stocks - (placement)

23,230,500.00

858

79,516,887.00

118

29.21%

Stocks -(secondary market)

2,480,779.32

476

28,531,841.00

795

8.69%

Total Stocks

25,711,279.32

1,334

108,048,728.00

913

23.80%

Corporate Securities Market

69,321,172.13

1,383

110,348,543.00

924.00

62.82%

Comparative table on the results of trades of Government Securities at BSE

(January-March, 2010)

Market segments

2010 (March 31)

2009 (March 31)

Percentage ratio

Volume of transactions (manat)

Number of transactions

Volume of transactions (manat)

Number of transactions

GB - (AR MF) (placement))

37,158,246.06

19

103,927,332.64

55

35.75%

GB - (AR MF) (secondary market)

11,858,165.96

8

132,989,076.76

68

8.92%

Total state bonds

49,016,412.02

27

236,916,409.40

123

20.69%

Notes (AR CB) - (placement)

45,564,562.99

40

161,951,666.04

75

28.13%

Notes (AR CB) - (secondary market)

0.00

0

64,784,623.64

35

0.00%

Total notes

45,564,562.99

40

226,736,289.68

110

20.10%

Repo operations

213,483,189.51

216

1,288,160,175.77

224

16.57%

GS market total

308,064,164.52

283

1,751,812,874.85

457

17.59%

Abbreviations:

GB - Governmental bonds

GB - Governmental securities

CB - Corporate bonds

CS - Corporate securities

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Banks' supply exceeds demand at deposit auction of Central Bank of Azerbaijan by five times
Industrialization projects underway in Kazakh Kyzylorda region
Details of products sold at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
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