Last week review (May 20-24)

May 20

World Bank assesses real estate registration project in Azerbaijan

A delegation from the World Bank (WB), led by the head of the Real Estate Registration Project in Azerbaijan Gavin Adlington is on a visit to the country. According to the report, the main purpose of the visit is to assess the ongoing implementation of the project, the results of its implementation in the outlying areas of the country as well as to evaluate the improvements of the system of property registration in accordance with modern standards.

SOCAR Turkey signs Star refinery construction agreement

Socar Turkey Company, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) signed an agreement with the consortium that is going to build the Star refinery in Turkey worth $4 billion, Petkim petrochemical complex, for which the refinery is planned to be constructed, reported. From the Socar Turkey side the agreement was signed by the Petkin chairman Vagif Aliyev. The consortium which won the tender for the construction of the Star refinery consists of the following companies: Spanish Tecnicas Reunidas, Italian Saipem, South Korean GS Engineering & Construction and Japan's Itochu. Construction of the refinery will be financed in part by the shareholders' assets (30 per cent) which will amount to about $1.8 billion and the rest through bank loans.

May 22

Minister: Agricultural production expected to increase in Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture predicts the growth of agricultural production in the country by six to seven per cent as of 2013, Azerbaijani Minister of Agriculture Ismet Abbasov said at the opening of the International Exhibition WorldFood Azerbaijan 2013.

"Last year, agricultural production increased by more than six per cent and by 4.8 per cent in January-April 2013," he said. "However, taking into account that most of the operations are planned to be conducted in the second half of the year, we expect a growth rate of six to seven per cent."

IMF welcomes Azerbaijan's economic growth amid external instability

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomes the rapid economic growth in Azerbaijan in recent years against the background of external instability, but notes that the most important challenges lie ahead, according to the report of the organization on the basis of completed consultations under Article IV of the Agreement "On creation of the IMF". "EB believes that high oil prices are currently presenting good opportunities to correct the course of economic policy given the relative strength," the report says. At the same time, the IMF Executive Board warns that further increase in government spending exacerbates the budgetary dependence on oil revenues and increases the risks associated with the fall in world oil prices. In a broader sense, the IMF Executive Board calls on the government to amend the fiscal policy in line with the latest IMF guidelines for resource-rich developing countries. The Executive Board of the IMF endorsed the willingness of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) to tighten monetary policy if price pressures intensify. In addition, EB welcomed the efforts to preserve the stability of the financial sector, including through the recapitalization of some banks and the adoption of prudential measures to curb the growth of consumer loans.

Azerbaijani President views 19th Azerbaijan International Exhibition of Food Industry and 7th Azerbaijan International Agriculture Exhibition

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visited the WorldFood Azerbaijan-2013, 19th Azerbaijan International Exhibition of Food Industry and the Agrihort 2013, 7th Azerbaijan International Agriculture Exhibition. The Head of State was informed that both WorldFood Azerbaijan-2013 and Agrihort Azerbaijan-2013 international exhibitions were good platforms for agriculture professionals and ideal working venues for food industry professionals, producers, exporters and importers of food. The exhibitions bring together companies from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, India, Jordan, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Poland, Switzerland, Iran and Lithuania. The WorldFood Azerbaijan 2013 is organized by the British exhibition company ITE Group and its partner in Azerbaijan Iteca Caspian LLC. The Head of State viewed pavilions of the exhibitions.

May 23

CBA: Azerbaijan properly distributes oil revenues

The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become an important platform improving the efficiency of international organizations in terms of the formation of new strategic approaches to solution of global problems, head of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan Elman Rustamov said, speaking at a conference of the WB and IMF parliamentary network held in Baku. "Our country has demonstrated a new interesting experience of rational use of natural resources. Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, the economy has grown more than three times in the last 10 years. The level of income per capita by purchasing power parity reached 10 thousand dollars. It is already 15 years that the country maintains its economic stability. Balanced budget, low external debt, low inflation and high amounts of foreign exchange reserves are the basis of this stability," Rustamov said.

Azerbaijani Central Bank proposes transformation of certain banks

The Azerbaijani Central Bank (CBA) has prepared a legal framework to transform the banks in the non-banking credit organisations if they fail to raise their joint capital up to new regulatory requirements, CBA chairman Elman Rustamov said. At present the country's banks must have a total capital of not less than 10 million manat. The CBA new requirements worth 50 million manat will take effect on January 1, 2014. He said that turning the banks into non-banking credit organisations was one of the ideas while launching the consolidation process on the market.

May 24

IMF forecasts current account surplus in Azerbaijan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a current account surplus in the Azerbaijani balance of payments in 2013 of 10.6 per cent of GDP. This figure is projected at six per cent of the country's GDP in 2014, IMF said. According to the report, the current account surplus amounted to 20.3 per cent in Azerbaijan in 2012. 'The further reduction in current account balances in oil and gas exporting countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia is forecasted in 2013-2014', the report said. 'This reflects the expanding tax-budget policy in Azerbaijan and moderate decrease in the projected world energy prices'. According to the IMF forecasts, economic growth in Azerbaijan, greatly supported by strong growth in non-oil sectors, will recover in 2013-2014 with the beginning of the stabilisation of oil production. Real GDP growth as of late 2013 is projected at 4.1 per cent. In 2014, this index is expected to hit 5.8 per cent compared to 2013.

Azerbaijani Transport Minister discusses current projects in Germany

Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov within his visit to International Transport Forum's Summit in Leipzig, Germany held some bilateral meetings with his counterparts from other countries, Head of Administrative Department of Azerbaijan's Transport Ministry Javid Najafov said. In particular, Azerbaijan's Minister met with Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, Turkish Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication Minister Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport and Road Economy of Moldova Anatoly Shalaru and Transport Minister of Latvia Anrijs Matiss. Within the bilateral meetings, Ziya Mammadov and his counterparts discussed current and planned joint projects.

Legal conference on energy and maritime law held in Baku

BP (main sponsor) and Baku State University are hosting today in Baku a legal conference on Energy and Maritime Law in Azerbaijan: National and International Perspectives. This is the first conference ever organized in Azerbaijan on this topic, BP's press release says. The other organizers of the conference are EKVITA, a local law firm, and ABA CEELI Inc., a US-based organization, who are acting in conjunction with their USAID supported Maritime and Energy Law LL.M. programme. The topics discussed at the conference include legal and tax aspects of implementation of a production sharing agreement, resolution of investment disputes in the energy industry, as well as a general discussion about the new Maritime and Energy Law LL.M. programme to be launched at Baku State University.

Azerbaijani Central Bank determines recommendations and practical actions in macro-prudential supervision

The recommendations and practical actions in the field of prudential supervision were determined during the workshop organized by the Azerbaijani Central Bank (CBA) and USAID in Baku, CBA said. The main objectives of the two-day workshop were to discuss the modern trends in the macro-prudential regulation and supervision, as well as to mutually exchange the views and experience between central banks and financial agencies of the countries in the Eurasian region. The main recommendations and practical actions on the generalized issues revealed during the discussions were determined at the end of the event.

May 25

Minister: Turkey, Azerbaijan to sign free trade agreement

Azerbaijan and Turkey are working on signing a free trade agreement, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan told reporters in Gabala. According to Caglayan, the working group is working to prepare an agreement that will be signed soon. "This will significantly simplify trade operations as well as increase the volume of bilateral trade," Caglayan said. Agreement between Georgia and the Republic of Turkey on free trade was signed on November 21, 2007 in Tbilisi.

Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey intend to implement joint projects in other countries

Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey intend to begin implementation of joint projects in other countries. This announcement was made at a meeting of the Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan during the trilateral business forum in Gabala. Mustafayev said the economy of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and the cooperation between them have reached such level of development, when these three countries may begin to implement joint projects in other countries and make joint investments.

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