Last week review (Mar.9-12)

Analysis Materials 17 March 2015 12:49 (UTC +04:00)

March 10

Belarus ready to co-op with Azerbaijan in all spheres

Belarus is ready to cooperate with Azerbaijan in all spheres, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yaqub Eyyubov, BelTA reported.

Lukashenko said the trade with Azerbaijan is very beneficial for Belarus, adding that the trade turnover between the two countries increased in 2014.

He reminded that there are joint ventures to produce Belarusian tractors, freight vehicles, elevators and other equipment in Azerbaijan.

He said the promotion of joint products to third countries and the Caucasus region is the next step.

March 11

Sufficient capital buffers of Azerbaijani banks mitigate effects of change in manat rate

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of Azerbaijan-based Unibank, DemirBank and Express Bank at 'B' and AtaBank at 'B-', said the message of Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency. The Outlooks on all four banks are Stable.

"The affirmations of Unibank, DemirBank, Express Bank and AtaBank reflect the so far only moderate deterioration of the banks' credit profiles amid the weakening operating environment driven by the sharp drop in oil prices, and limited direct impact from the recent 34 percent local currency devaluation," said the message.

Tajikistan interested in Azerbaijani mining, agriculture investments

Tajikistan is interested in attracting Azerbaijani investments in the mining industry and agriculture, the Tajik ambassador in Baku, Zohir Saidov said.

The ambassador said Tajikistan wants to invite Azerbaijani specialists to work in these sectors of the economy. The ambassador noted that Tajikistan actively cooperates with the Azerbaijani company Azeraluminium.

"Aside from that, talks are currently underway with the Azerbaijani company Azersun on investing in construction of large fruit and vegetable processing enterprises in Tajikistan," he said.

Azerbaijan intends to increase annual number of tourists to 5 million

Azerbaijan intends to increase the number of tourists visiting the country to 5 million people per year, the country's Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev said.

He made the remarks during the Caspian Energy Forum-2015 held in Baku.

The minister said the share of tourism in Azerbaijan's GDP is 2.4 percent, or 1.3 billion Azerbaijani manats, adding that it is a very good level.

"The inrush of tourists to Azerbaijan has increased in recent times thanks to the stable situation in the country," said Garayev.

The minister added that the inrush of tourists to Azerbaijan from more distant countries has increased. "We have seen increase in the number of tourists from Europe, the US, Far East countries and Arab states in recent times."

Recently there has been a decrease in the total share of Russian and Georgian tourists visiting Azerbaijan, according to Garayev.

March 12

Azerbaijani, Pakistani presidents attend joint business forum

The Azerbaijani-Pakistani business forum kicked off in Baku.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain attended the event.

Following this, Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The forum, which brought together Azerbaijani and Pakistani officials and nearly 100 businessmen from the fields of agriculture, industry, construction, healthcare, ICT and other areas.

Russia to deliver nearly 3,000 freight cars to Azerbaijan

Russia's UralVagonZavod Research and Production Corporation, will deliver 2,900 freight cars of various models to Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, the message from UralVagonZavod said.

Head of Azerbaijan Railways company Javid Gurbanov and the director general of UralVagonZavod Corporation, Oleg Sienko discussed various aspects of cooperation during the negotiations in Baku, according to the message.

Following the negotiations, the sides signed an agreement on delivering 2,900 various models of freight cars to Azerbaijan Railways CJSC.

March 13

Southern Gas Corridor means opportunities

The Southern Gas Corridor project, designed to transport gas from the Caspian region to the European countries, offers a number of opportunities to Azerbaijan and other countries as well, Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said.

Speaking at the third Caspian Corridor Conference organized at the headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, Aliyev said that the Trans Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) passes through 20 provinces, 67 districts and near 600 villages from East to West. On the other side, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will pass through the territory of Greece, Albania and to Italy.

He stressed that one of important factors regarding the project is that it creates thousand of jobs in many countries.

Azerbaijani business is ready to invest in Belarus

Azerbaijan is ready to expand its activity in Belarus, the head of the Azerbaijani Export and Investment Promotion Fund (AZPROMO) Rufat Mammadov said at the Azerbaijani-Belarusian business forum in Baku.

He said that Azerbaijan has something to offer to Belarus and Azerbaijani businessmen are ready to invest and to trade with this country.

"The trade and economic relations between the two countries are at a good level," he said.

Mammadov said that despite the bilateral trade has recently increased threefold, this is not the limit. There are 28 companies with Belarusian capital in Azerbaijan.

President Ilham Aliyev attends opening of Mollaisalar-Valiushaghı-Mollaahmadli-Sarkarlar highway in Barda

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening Mollaisalar-Valiushaghı-Mollaahmadli-Sarkarlar highway as part of his visit to Barda.

Mollaisalar-Valiushaghı-Mollaahmadli-Sarkarlar highway, which is 15.5 km in length, links 11 villages with the total population of more than 10,000 people.

The head of state was informed of indicators of the newly-repaired Alpoud-Mustafaaghalı-Nazırlı-Qaratepe road. It was noted that this highway links 14 villages with the population of more than 24,000 people.

March 14

Azerbaijan to revise 2015 state budget

The Azerbaijani government is revising the 2015 budget based on a lower oil price assumption, Fitch Ratings said.

"The budget approved by the country's parliament in November 2014 targeted a state budget deficit of 2.8% of GDP, at an average oil price of USD90/b," the report said. "A weaker exchange rate will cushion the blow to oil revenues in manat, while the government will reduce infrastructure expenditure from very high levels by delaying non-essential upcoming projects. This combination should prevent the general government from going into a sizeable deficit. The general government ran a surplus of 2.9% of GDP in 2014."

"We forecast that growth will fall to 1.5% in 2015.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Azerbaijan's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'BBB-'. The Outlooks are Stable.