Review of monetary sector in Azerbaijan (January-October 2015 )

The currency reserve of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan has dropped by $180.1 million (2.57 percent) in October 2015 compared to September and neared $6.835 billion.

The bank's currency reserve has decreased by around $6.924 billion (50.3 percent) since early 2015.

The decline in the CBA currency reserve has been observed since July 2014. Earlier, this happened slowly (around $20-50 million). But their volume has sharply reduced since December due to the increase in demand for dollar supply in the country.

However, the growth of currency reserve resumed in May-June 2015. In May, the Central Bank reserve increased by $42.9 million (0.51 percent) and totaled $8.43 billion compared to April, and by $89.4 million (1.06 percent) in June. However, after a slight growth, the reduction of currency reserve of the CBA continued.

The reduction in CBA currency reserve is in particular due to the intervention carried out by the Central Bank on the foreign exchange market in order to keep the exchange rate of manat against the US dollar at a stable level.

During the plenary meeting in October, Azerbaijani parliament approved increasing the authorized capital of the Central Bank to 500 million manats. Corresponding amendments were made to the law "On the Central Bank of Azerbaijan".

Currently, the authorized capital of the CBA is 10 million manats. The bank's capital is formed by the authorized capital and capital reserves. The capital reserves shouldn't be less than the authorized capital of CBA and are formed by deductions from the profit of the fiscal year.

Currency market and manat rate

Factors affecting the change in the exchange rate of manat are formed outside the national economy. Thus, the main factors affecting the exchange rate of manat, are changes in oil prices, the status of the balance of payments and monetary policy of Azerbaijan's foreign trade partners.

The devaluation of manat by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan in February 2015, was related to the need to preserve the medium and long term equilibrium in the country's balance of payments and stability of the Central Bank's currency reserve. Devaluation was observed amid the acceleration of the dollarization process.

In this regard, another reinforcing factor was the devaluation of the national currencies of the country's major trade partners. Turkish lira has depreciated by 34 percent, Russian ruble - 86 percent, Kazakh tenge - 66 percent since early 2014. It significantly worsened Azerbaijan's balance of payments and affected the competitiveness of local production.

The exchange rate of dollar to manat in October was below the devaluation threshold in February (the mark to which the rate of Azerbaijani currency was lowered - 1.05 manats per US dollar). Strengthening of euro was observed on the country's currency market during that period. It amounted to 1.2019 manats per euro in mid-October.

Azerbaijan's monetary market

CBA's important objective is to manage the money supply at an adequate macroeconomic and financial stability level, in terms of continuous growth of foreign exchange reserves of the country and increased liquidity of the banking system.

A decrease in the foreign exchange reserves of the country, as well as the CBA decision dated February 16, 2014 about holding the exchange rate policy on the basis of the mechanism of the dual currency basket that includes the dollar and the euro, significantly affected the amount of the monetary aggregates in subsequent months.

The money supply rate (M2) (cash in circulation (outside banks) and remainders in the domestic currency on accounts of non-financial organizations, financial (excluding credit) organizations and physical entities) decreased by 0.06 percent in October 2015 compared to the previous month and by 46.09 percent compared to the same period of 2014.

The money supply has decreased by 42.3 percent (over 8.072 billion manats) since early 2015.

The money supply rate (M2) neared 9.364 billion manats as of October 2015 compared to around 9.369 billion manats as of September 2015 and 17.37 billion manats as of October 1, 2014, according to the report.

The amount of cash money supply (M0) decreased by 47.5 percent during a year and exceeded 5.429 billion manats compared to 10.306 billion manats as of late October 2014. M0 decreased by 0.5 percent in October 2015 compared to September (5.557 billion manats).

As of October 2015, Broad Money Supply (M3) totaled 17.369 billion manats or 18.73 percent less compared to the same period in 2014 (21.372 billion manats) and by 1.8 percent less as of late September 2015 (17.684 billion manats).

The transaction money (M1) decreased by 13.1 percent during a year and amounted to 7.215 billion manats compared to 12.681 billion manats as of October 2014 and increased by 0.3 percent compared to the previous month (7.189 billion manats).

Parameters of monetary market, in billion manats:

Volume, Jan.-Oct.

Money mass in extensive understating (М3)

17.369

Money mass on manat (М2)

9.363

Cash in manat (М0)

5.429

Non-cash in manat

3.934

As of November 1, 2015, the bank reserves in Azerbaijan amounted to 1.350 billion manats, which is more than twofold exceeds the figure in the same period of 2014 (564.5 million manats).

The expanded monetary base in Azerbaijan totaled 7.355 billion manats as of Nov. 1, 2015, according to the CBA report.

In annual terms, the monetary base in Azerbaijan decreased by 36.6 percent. For comparison, as of October 2014, this figure was 11.587 billion manats. The monetary base decreased by 1.1 percent in Azerbaijan compared to September (7.434 billion manats).

As of Nov.1, 2015, the monetary base in manat amounted to 7.056 billion manats compared to 11.478 billion manats as of Nov. 1, 2014, according to the CBA.

In the mentioned period, the volume of money in circulation amounted to 5.995 billion manats, while this figure was 10.994 billion manats as of Nov. 1, 2014.

The ratio of the mass of cash in circulation to the monetary base was 81.5 percent as of Nov.1, 2015, decreasing by 13.4 percent compared to Nov. 1, 2014.

Azerbaijan's loan market

Azerbaijani banks increased lending to the economy by 4.06 percent in January-October 2015 compared to the same period of 2014, the report said.

The bank lending volume decreased by 2.86 percent in October 2015 compared to the previous month.

According to the report, the decline in the bank lending volumes is associated with the restructuring in the International Bank of Azerbaijan.

According to the CBA, as of Nov.1, 2015, the volume of loans issued by banks totaled 18.566 billion manats, including 11.282 billion manats (60.76 percent) - in national currency and 7.285 billion manats (39.24 percent ) - in freely convertible currency.

This ratio hit 73 and 27 percent in January 2015, respectively, 60 and 40 percent in January-February, 59.17 and 40.83 percent, respectively in the first quarter.

For comparison, the banks issued loans worth 17.842 billion manats (around 13.161 billion manats in national currency and 4.681 billion manats in freely convertible currency) as of October 2014.

Of the total portfolio, borrowings and loans worth 1.302 billion manats (7.01 percent) were overdue in January-October 2015.

The volume of bad loans dropped by 3.83 percent in October compared to September.

In general, the volume of bad loans increased by 38 percent in January- October 2015 compared to the same period of 2014 and 33.35 percent - compared to early 2015.

For comparison, the figure was 943.4 million manats (5.29 percent) in January- October 2014.

The statistics of overdue loans does not include similar loans of Aqrarkredit non-banking credit institution.

The increase in delinquency was observed amid an increase in the credit portfolio of the banks.

The volume of short-term loans amounted to 4.348 billion manats (including overdue loans worth 476.8 million manats) as of October 2015 compared to 3.712 billion manats (including overdue loans worth 379.3 million manats) a year earlier. The volume of short-term loans in the economy has increased by 17.13 percent in a year.

The volume of long term loans amounted to 14.219 billion manats (including 825.1 million manats worth overdue loans) as of January-October 2015, compared to 14.130 billion manats (including 564.1 million manats worth overdue loans) as of October 2014. The volume of long term loans has increased by 0.63 percent in a year.

The credit portfolio of the state banks in the country hit 5.837 billion manats with the specific weight of 31.4 percent, while private banks issued loans worth around 12.164 billion manats with a specific weight of 65.5 percent.

The remaining 3.1 percent fell to the share of non-bank credit organizations which issued 566 million manats, according to the CBA.

Azerbaijani banks decreased the consumer lending volume by 0.46 percent - to 7.56 billion manats in October 2015 compared to September, the report said.

The volume of consumer lending has increased by 2.35 percent as of Jan.-Oct. 2015.

The consumer lending volumes decreased after the devaluation of the manat rate [the dollar rate increased by almost 34 percent on February 21].

It increased by almost 9 percent in February. The banks reduced the consumer lending volume by 1.4 percent in March, 1.2 percent in April, 1.88 percent in May, 1.97 percent in June and 1.5 percent in July.

The share of consumer loans in a total volume of the banks' loan investments decreased from 43 percent as of February to 40.7 percent as of October.

Trade and service sphere ranked second for the share in the total credit portfolio of banks in October (13.7 percent or 2.55 billion manats). This is while the construction and real estate sphere ranked second in the loan demand on the market in September.

The decision on the process of simplification of entrepreneurship activities in the country in accordance with the decrees signed by President Ilham Aliyev in October also played a role here. Inspections in the sphere of entrepreneurship have been suspended for two years since Nov.1 2015 in accordance with this decision. Meanwhile, this decision envisages minimizing the number of licenses, simplifying the rules of issuing them and ensuring transparency, as well as transferring all licenses related to the entrepreneurship activities from the Ministry of Economy and Industry to ASAN Xidmet centers.

Thus, the construction and real estate sector ranked third in the total loan portfolio of banks in October (13.3 percent or 2.47 billion manats).

Around 8.7 percent of the total volume of lending to the real sector of Azerbaijan was directed to the industry and production. In nominal terms it amounts to 1.61 billion manats.

The share of transport and communication hit 5.8 percent (1.075 billion manats), agriculture and processing reached 3.7 percent (685.5 million manats), energy, chemistry, and natural resources - 1.3 percent (247.1 million manats).

The loans issued to the population in Azerbaijan's districts totaled 3.21 billion manats as of January-October 2015, or 17.3 percent of the banks' total loan portfolio.

Of this volume, (27.07 percent) of loans or 869.02 million manats, issued to the population in the country's regions, accounted for the foreign currency.

The loans worth 15.35 billion manats were issued in Baku. The loans in national currency amounted to 8.9 billion manats (58 percent).

For comparison, the loans amounting to 14.91 billion manats were issued in Baku in the same period of 2014, of which 10.85 billion manats (72.8 percent) accounted for the loans in the national currency.

The average interest rate on loans throughout the country was 13.6 percent in January-October 2015, this figure stood at 12.2 percent in Baku.

The lending volume in the Absheron Economic district totaled 620.28 million manats at an average rate of 18.6 percent.

In other economic districts the lending index was as follows: Aran - 825.35 million manats at a rate of 22.6 percent, Mountainous Shirvan - 111.06 million manats at a rate of 22.5 percent, Ganja-Gazakh - 721.76 million manats at a rate of 18.8 percent, Guba-Khachmaz - 229.16 million manats at a rate of 21.6 percent, Lankaran - 276.38 million manats at a rate of 23.6 percent, Shaki-Zagatala - 214.62 million manats at a rate of 21.5 percent, the Upper Karabakh - 69.96 million manats at a rate of 19.34 percent, Kalbajar-Lachin - 6.05 million manats at a rate of 16.4 percent, Nakhchivan - 137.73 million manats at a rate of 13.3 percent.

The average interest rate on loans issued by Azerbaijani banks in national currency decreased in October 2015, while in foreign currency - increased, the report said.

The average rate on bank lending to the Azerbaijani economy in national currency amounted to 13.23 percent as of October 2015 compared to 14.01 percent in the previous month. The average interest rate on loans hit 13.81 percent in early 2015.

The average rate on bank lending in freely convertible currency made up 13.24 percent compared to 12.74 percent in the previous month.

The average rate was 14.07 percent in early 2015.

The average rate on bank lending to legal entities in national currency amounted to 9 percent compared to 9.97 percent in September 2015 and 9.99 percent as of early 2015.

The average rate on bank lending to corporate clients in freely convertible currency amounted to 9.05 percent in October, compared to 8.92 percent and 9.18 percent, respectively.

The average rate on bank lending to individuals in national currency amounted to 17.68 percent in October, compared to 17.8 percent in September 2015 and 18.53 percent in early 2015.

The average rate on bank loans to individual customers in freely convertible currency was 21.45 percent compared to 21.73 percent and 21.52 percent, respectively.

Mortgage lending

The Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund (AMF) under the Azerbaijani Central Bank issued loans amounting to 83.2 million manats in January-October 2015 or almost 1.5 percent more than in the same period of 2014.

The loans worth 6 million manats were issued through AMF in October, or 76.5 percent more than in October 2014, according to the CBA report.

The total amount of refinancing the loans issued by the banks earlier amounted to 89.9 million manats in October 2015.

Some 41.6 million manats of 50 million manats envisaged for 2015 have been allocated for social mortgage since early 2015. Some 4.3 million manats were transferred from the state budget to the AMF in October 2015.

The average amount issued by AMF authorized banks is 40.783 manats (this figure amounted to 40.049 manats in October 2014), the average term of loan issue - 280 months (279 months), the average interest rate is 6.71 percent (compared to 6.82 percent in 2014), and the average monthly payment is 297.1 manats (318.7 manats).

Some 17,843 mortgage loans worth almost 723.8 million manats have been issued up till now through the fund, including 97.1 million manats in 2014, 112.9 million manats in 2013, 74.77 million manats - in 2012, 95.64 million manats - in 2011, 97.08 million manats - in 2010, 76.9 million manats - in 2009, 70.2 million manats - in 2007 and 5.6 million manats - in 2006.

Currently, the maximum amount of a common mortgage loan through the AMF is 50,000 manats at a rate of 8 percent with a payback period of 25 years. Terms under the social mortgage are 50,000 manats at an annual rate of 4 percent with a payback period of 30 years. The initial payment under a social mortgage is 15 percent, whilst a conventional loan is 20 percent.

Conditions of mortgage lending are as follows: Loans must be issued in Azerbaijani manat and only to Azerbaijani citizens and the mortgage can only be for an apartment or private house.

The volume of mortgage lending must not exceed 80 percent of the market price and the monthly payment must not exceed 70 percent of the debtor's monthly income. It is compulsory to have an agreement on life insurance.

There are also other conditions.

Preferential conditions concern family members of war victims, national heroes, internally displaced persons, civil servants with at least a three years' experience, PhDs and those making special contributions to sport, as well as to the military with at least a three-year service term. Each family having the right to such a mortgage can only use the opportunity once.

At present, the authorized banks of the Mortgage Fund are 32 banks (43 banks operate in the country).

As many as 21 insurance companies [their total number is 26] and 16 appraisal organizations are the participants of the mortgage market.

Azerbaijan's banking sector

The economic cycles, seasonal factors and the attitude of investors, dictated by a variety of causes impact on the dynamics of deposits.

As of Nov. 1, 2015, the total amount of bank deposits and deposits of physical and legal entities drawn by the credit organizations of Azerbaijan totaled 17.151 billion manats.

According to the CBA report, the deposit base of banks declined by 1.87 percent in October, increased by 13.32 percent since early 2015, while in annual terms - increased by 15.67 percent.

For comparison, as of October 1, 2015, the total amount of deposits in Azerbaijani banks amounted to 17.478 billion manats, as of Jan. 1 - 15.453 billion manats, as of Nov. 1, 2014 - 14.827 billion manats.

Azerbaijani bank deposits have slightly decreased by 1-2 percent since April 2015.

As of October 2015, the deposits in national currency - manat amounted to 4.315 billion manats, of which 1.861 billion manats - demand deposits, 2.454 billion manats - term deposits.

According to the report, during the period, the deposits in freely convertible currency amounted to 12.836 billion (3.342 billion manats - demand deposits, 9.494 billion manats - term deposits).

Thus, as of November 1, the deposits in manat hit 25.16 percent, in foreign currency - 74.84 percent of the total deposit base of banks. For comparison, as of 2015, some 50.1 percent was formed through manat deposits, while 49.9 percent of the banks' deposit base was formed through the deposits in foreign currency.

As of 2014, the deposits in national currency amounted to 7.743 billion manats, of which 2.734 billion manats - demand deposits, 5.009 billion manats - term deposits. The deposits in foreign currency neared 7.710 billion manats, of which 1.799 billion manats - demand deposits, 5.911 billion manats - term deposits.

The volume of the individulas' deposits in Azerbaijani banks amounted to 7.173 billion manats. The vast majority accounted for the foreign currency deposits (75.97 percent or 5.449 billion manats).

The volume of deposits in foreign currency decreased by 1.9 times in October, compared to September, by 0.22 percent compared to early 2015 and increased by 2.39 percent compared to the same period in 2014.

The volume of deposits in foreign currency increased by 2.12 times compared to October 2014 (this figure totaled 2.566 billion manats as of Nov.1, 2014) decreased by 1.53 percent (5.534 billion manats) compared to September 2015, and rose by 1.97 times (2766 million manat) compared to early 2015.

The growing share of deposits in foreign currency, observed since February, was caused by the devaluation of the national currency. Thus, the official exchange rate was set at 1.05 manats upon the decision of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan on February 21, 2015.

All banks operating in the country are members of the Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund, but three of them currently have restrictions on receiving deposits.

As of October 2015, the volume of the physical entities' deposits in Azerbaijani banks amounted to 5.040 billion manats compared to 4.088 billion manats as of October 2014. The volume of the non-financial organizations' deposits hit 4.928 billion manats compared to 3.733 billion manats in October 2014.

The total volume of the legal entities' deposits in the country's banks amounted to 9.977 billion manats or by 27.6 percent more than in October 2014 - 7.821 billion manats.

The population's deposits, attracted to Azerbaijan's banking system from the country's districts (except for Baku), totaled 544.62 million manat in January-October 2015, or 7.6 percent of the total bank deposits.

The volume of deposits in Baku was 6.62 billion manats, while 1.44 billion manats accounted for the deposits in the national currency.

The volume of savings of residents of the Azerbaijani regions in foreign currency amounted to 268.7 million manats (49.33 percent of total deposits in the regions).

A gradual increase in the volume of bank deposits in freely convertible currency has been observed outside the capital since early 2015. Thus, in early 2015 the share of the population's bank deposits in freely convertible currency in the regions of Azerbaijan amounted to 24.2 percent, while 49 percent in July. During August, the share of bank deposits decreased by 4.6 percentage points, in September increased again by 5.9 percentage points and dropped by 0.97 percent in October.

As of October 2015, the average interest rate throughout the country hit 7.7 percent.

Thus, the Absheron economic region is still the leader on such indices as attracting the population's deposits by the banks (165.37 million manats, average rate - 8.4 percent per annum).

During this period, the volume of deposits in the Aran economic region - 88.38 million manats at a rate of 6 percent, Mountainous Shirvan - 13.23 million manats at a rate of 6.7 percent, Ganja-Gazakh - 126.09 million manats at a rate 7.7 percent, Guba-Khachmaz - 35.67 million manats at a rate of 6.7 percent, Lankaran - 38.28 million manats - the rate of 7.5 percent, Sheki-Zagatala - 36.84 million manats - the rate of 6.1 percent, Upper Karabakh - 16.08 million manats - 5.1 percent, Kalbajar-Lachin - 2.42 million manats - 4.8 percent, Nakhchivan - 22.21 million manats - the average rate of 4.5 percent.

The average interest rate on deposits and deposits issued by Azerbaijani banks in October 2015, has dropped both in national currency and foreign currency.

The average rate on deposits in manat made up 8.46 percent as of Nov. 1, 2015 compared to 8.73 percent as of Oct.1 and 8.86 percent as of January 1.

The average rate on deposits in foreign currency amounted to 8.51 percent, compared to 8.6 percent as of Oct. 1.

The average rate on deposits in freely convertible currency stood at 9.24 percent as of Jan.1, 2015.

As of Nov. 1, 2015, the average interest rate on deposits of legal entities in manat made up 5.93 percent compared to 6.24 percent as of Oct. 1 and 5.51 percent as of January 1, 2015.

The funds on the accounts nominated in freely convertible currency brought the legal entities 5.23 percent, 5.3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

As of Nov. 1, 2015, the average interest rate on deposits of physical entities in manat made up 9.41 percent, while it was 9.45 percent as of Oct. 1 and Jan.1.

As of Nov. 1, 2015, the average interest rate on deposits of physical entities in foreign currency made up 9.21 percent, while it was 9.29 percent as of Oct. 1 and 9.78 percent as of Jan.1.

Banks' financial activities

According to the CBA, as of Nov.1, the assets of Azerbaijani banks amounted to 27.772 billion manats compared to nearly 28.200 billion manats a month earlier. The highest volume of bank assets in 2015 was recorded on May 1, 2015 - (29.238 billion manats).

The assets of banks totaled 25.183 billion manats as of Jan.1 2015 and their nominal growth didn't exceed 10.3 percent in 10 months of 2015.

According to the CBA, as of Nov.1, the capital of Azerbaijani banks amounted to 4.092 billion manats, compared to 4.088 billion manats a month earlier. The highest volume of total capital of banks in 2015 was recorded on June 1, 2015 - 4.521 billion manats.

As of Jan. 1, 2015 banks' capital totaled 4.270 billion manats and its nominal decline stood at 4.2 percent as of ten months of 2015.

Payment card market

The total turnover on payment cards via ATMs and POS-terminals amounted to 1.029 billion manats in October 2015 or by 4 percent more than in the same period of 2014.

The number of transactions with payment cards reached 7.4 million (a 10.3 percent growth in a year) as of Jan.-Oct. 2015, said the report from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan).

The number of transactions on debit cards reached 6.1 million valued at 863 billion manats during this period.

Of the total number of transactions, 4.7 million transactions valued at 764 million manats were carried out on debit cards via ATMs within the country, and around 310,000 transactions valued at 58 million manats via POS-terminals.

This is while 1.27 million transactions worth 166 million manats were carried out credit cards in October 2015.

As many as 393,000 transactions worth 81 million manats of the total number of transactions on credit cards, were implemented via ATMs and there were 383,000 transactions worth 36 million manats via POS-terminals.

The number of payment cards in Azerbaijan decreased by 3.06 percent and stood at 5.7 million in October compared to the same period of 2014.

Some 4.5 million of the total number of cards were debit cards, in particular, 2.4 million - social cards, 1.48 million - salary cards, 663,000 - other cards. The number of credit cards was 1.11 million.

As of Nov.1, 2015, around 2,711 ATMs operated in the country of which 1,525 are located in Baku and 1,186 in other cities and regions of the country. Their total number increased by 155 or 6.06 percent during a year (compared to October 2014).

The number of POS-terminals amounted to 76,932 of which 48, 278 are installed in Baku and 28,654 in other cities and regions as of late October 2015. The number of POS-terminals has increased by 12, 635 or 19.65 percent during the year.

Stock market

In October 2015, the volume of stock exchange transactions on the additional issue of securities registered by the National Depository Center (NDC) under the State Securities Committee (SSC) of Azerbaijan increased by 17.5 times compared to the same period last year.

For the reporting period, seven transactions on the additional issue of securities in the amount of 1.1 billion manats were registered.

The message said that during the reporting period, 351 exchange transactions in the amount of 70.1 million manats at par value were registered, whereas 550 deals amounting to 108 million manats were concluded in October 2014.

In October 2015, some 47 off-exchange transactions in the amount of 524,700 manats at par value were registered.

The volume of off-exchange transactions decreased by 5.6 times compared to the same period of last year. For comparison: in October 2014, the NDC registered 76 transactions worth 2.96 million manats.

The NDC was established on September 18, 1997. The founder and owner of all shares of the center is the State Property Committee of Azerbaijan. After the creation of the State Committee for Securities (SCS), the shares of NDC were transferred to its property. In this regard, the NDC was reestablished by the SCS September 8, 1999 and passed the state registration September 17, 1999.

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