Review of monetary sector in Azerbaijan (January-September 2016)

Currency reserves of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) decreased by $59.8 million (1.43 percent) to nearly $4.1 billion in September as compared to August.

The CBA’s currency reserves have decreased by 884 million manat, or by 17.6 percent since early 2016, according to the CBA.

The reduction in CBA’s currency reserves began in June 2014. The reduction was at a slower rate (in the range of $20-50 million) at the beginning, but a sharp decline in the volume of reserves began in December 2014 due to an increase in demand for dollar in the country.

During 2016, the volume of currency reserves increased by 0.9 percent in March, by 1.35 percent in April, by 3.97 percent in May and by 0.7 percent in August.

The CBA has increased the interest rate from 9.5 percent to 15 percent since Sept. 14.

The upper limit of the interest rate corridor will increase from 15 percent to 18 percent, while the lower limit will rise from 4 percent to 12 percent.

“The recent changes in the internal and external factors affecting inflation bring the need to take additional anti-inflationary measures,” the CBA said. “During 2016, the national currency rate changed in accordance with supply and demand in the foreign currency market and trends in the balance of payments.”

“The CBA reduced its participation in the foreign currency market to the minimum and interventions were implemented only in order to regulate short-term sharp fluctuations of the manat exchange rate. During this period, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) was selling foreign currency through auctions of the Central Bank.”

The CBA will continue measures to ensure macroeconomic and financial stability, including the measures to keep inflation at an acceptable level and enhance confidence in the national currency.

The Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund (ADIF) has increased the maximum interest rate on manat deposits covered by insurance from 12 percent to 15 percent.

The upper limit of the interest rate on insured deposits in foreign currency is 3 percent.

According to the law on "Full deposit insurance", the deposits of the population will be insured, regardless of the deposit amount during three years.

The annual interest rate of the deposits does not exceed the maximum level set by the ADIF Board of Trustees.

Bank Standard’s license was revoked on Oct. 1, 2016, according to the decision of the Board of Directors of Azerbaijan’s Financial Market Supervisory Body.

The new management of the bank has prepared several scenarios for recovering the bank, but, unfortunately, none of them was sufficient to restore financial stability.

Bank Standard was founded in 1995. It was one of the largest private commercial banks in Azerbaijan and was one of the market leaders in terms of deposits.

Currency market and manat rate

The CBA together with other agencies will continue to ensure the stability of the manat rate. The manat rate has decreased within five percent since early 2016, although a 10 percent change in manat rate was observed.

According to the CBA, it is difficult to predict the manat rate because it depends on many factors, such as oil prices and balance of payments.

The dollar rate to manat was 1.5610 manat in early 2016. The rate reached the record index of 1.6456 manat March 11 and 1.6211 manat by late September.

Azerbaijani monetary market

The money supply rate (M2) (cash in circulation (outside banks) and remainders in the national currency on accounts of non-financial organizations, financial organizations (excluding credit organizations) and physical entities) amounted to 9.96 billion manat in September 2016 increasing by 1.0 percent for the month and by 6.4 percent for the year, the CBA's report said.

The amount of cash money supply (M0) increased by 4.2 percent for the year from 5.45 billion manat to 5.68 billion manat. M0 decreased by 1.4 percent compared to the previous month.

As of September 2016, Broad Money Supply (M3) totaled 20.13 billion manat or 13.8 percent more compared to September 2015 and by 4.83 percent less than in late September 2016.

The transaction money (M1) increased by 16 percent for the year, while by 2.3 percent and amounted to 8.34 billion manat compared to August.

Parameters of monetary market, in billion manat:

Monetary market parameters

Volume, September 2016

Money mass in extensive understating (М3)

20134,2

Money mass on manat (М2)

9966,4

Cash in manat (М0)

5682,6

Безналичность в манатном выражении

4283,8

The bank reserves in Azerbaijan amounted to 1.77 billion manat as of October 1, 2016, or 28.8 percent more than in September 2015 (1.379 billion manat).

The report said that the broad monetary base in the country as of October 1, 2016, amounted to 7.98 billion manat.

In annual terms, the monetary base in Azerbaijan increased by 7.4 percent. For comparison: this figure amounted to 7.43 billion manat as of late September 2015. Compared with early 2016 (7.56 billion manat), the monetary base in Azerbaijan increased by 5.6 percent.

According to the CBA, as of October 1, 2016, the monetary base in manat amounted to 6.81 billion manat compared to 7.05 billion manat as of October 1, 2015.

The volume of currency in circulation amounted to 6.19 billion manat during the reporting period, while this figure stood at 6.05 billion manat as of October 1, 2015.

The ratio of cash in circulation to monetary base as of October 1, 2016 amounted to 77.6 percent, decreasing by 4 percentage points compared to the index as of October 1, 2015.

Azerbaijan’s loan market

The credit portfolio of Azerbaijani banks decreased by 0.32 percent up to 16.785 billion manat in September 2016 compared to the previous month.

Azerbaijani banks decreased lending to the economy by 12.18 percent compared to September 2015.

According to the CBA’s report, the banks issued over a half of loans worth 8.848 billion manat (52.7 percent) in the national currency, while the rest part – 7.937 billion manat (47.3 percent) in foreign currency.

This ratio reached 73 and 27 percent in early 2015. But the share of foreign currency loans began increasing, reaching 49.3 percent as of the year after the February devaluation of the manat.

However, Azerbaijan’s Financial Market Supervisory Body has established a moratorium on the issuance of consumer loans in foreign currency to the individuals who do not have foreign exchange earnings and bank deposits since April 2016 and imposed a ban on mortgage loans in foreign currency since May.

Moreover, some banks have started to convert dollar-denominated loans into manat ones. As a result, the share of manat loans began to grow gradually. For comparison, some 50.9 percent of the loan portfolio of banks accounted for the loans in national currency in January-March 2016, while 51.9 percent in January-June.

The volume of overdue bank loans increased by 0.3 percent and reached 1.597 billion manat in Azerbaijan in September 2016 compared to August.

The overdue loans in manat amounted to 763.3 million manat or 8.6 percent, while 834 million manat or 10.5 percent in foreign currency.

The share of overdue loans in a total loan portfolio of banks amounted to 6.8 percent in September 2015.

As of October 1, 2016, the volume of short-term loans amounted to 3.611 billion manat (including overdue loans worth 484.1 million manat) decreasing by 0.5 percent for the month and by 15.2 percent per annum.

The volume of long term loans decreased by 0.3 percent for the month and by 11.32 percent up to 13.174 billion manat for the year (including 1.113 billion manat of overdue loans).

According to the CBA, the credit portfolio of the state banks reached 5.509 billion manat with the specific weight of 32.8 percent, while private banks issued loans worth around 10.764 billion manat with a specific weight of 64.1 percent. Some 4.307 billion manat of the amount account for the banks with foreign capital.

The remaining 3 percent accounted for the share of non-bank credit organizations which issued 511 million manat.

Some 34 banks, including two state-owned banks, 157 non-bank credit organizations, including 109 credit unions operated in Azerbaijan in August.

Most of all loans are granted to the households in Azerbaijan. According to the CBA, some 36.9 percent of the total volume of the banks’ credit investments or 6.192 billion manat were granted to the households in January-September 2016.

According to the report, the trade and services sector (15.2 percent or 2.555 billion manat) ranked second, the construction and real estate sector (11.6 percent or 1.955 billion manat) ranked third in the total loan portfolio of banks.

The industry and production sector received 1.333 billion manat (7.9 percent of the total lending volume).

Some 6.9 percent (1.163 billion manat) accounted for the loans issued in transport and communication, 2.4 percent (409.7 million manat) - agriculture and processing, 2.2 percent (372 million manat) - energy, chemistry, and natural resources, 16.5 percent (2.694 billion manat) – the rest areas, the report said.

As of October 1, 2016, lending to real estate operations (construction and purchase of real estate facilities, including mortgage lending) amounted to 1.650 billion manat or 9.8 percent of total lending volume.

The loans given to the population in Azerbaijan's districts totaled 2.531 billion manat in September 2016, or 15.08 percent of the banks' total loan portfolio, which is 22.9 percent less than in the same period of 2015, the report said.

According to the report, the loans worth 14.254 billion manat were issued in Baku.

The loans in national currency (manat) amounted to 7.137 billion manat (50.07 percent).

For comparison, the loans amounting to 15.830 billion manat were issued in Baku in September 2015. Some 53.43 percent of that amount accounted for the loans in national currency.

The average interest rate on loans throughout the country was 11.3 percent in September 2016, while in Baku that index stood at 9.8 percent.

The lending volume in the Absheron economic district totaled 518.07 million manat at an average rate of 16.5 percent.

In other economic districts the lending index was as follows: Aran – 621.2 million manat at a rate of 22.5 percent, Mountainous Shirvan – 95.4 million manat at a rate of 22.2 percent, Ganja-Gazakh – 538.03 million manat at a rate of 19.4 percent, Guba-Khachmaz – 193.2 million manat at a rate of 19.7 percent, Lankaran – 231 million manat at a rate of 21.9 percent, Shaki-Zagatala – 182.92 million manat at a rate of 21.3 percent, the Upper Karabakh – 42.8 million manat at a rate of 18.2 percent, Kalbajar-Lachin – 1.14 million manat at a rate of 13.8 percent, Nakhchivan – 107.6 million manat at a rate of 13.2 percent.

Azerbaijani banks increased the average interest rate on loans in national currency and decreased loans in foreign currency in September 2016 compared to the previous month.

According to the report, the average rate on loans issued in national currency amounted to 12.42 percent in September compared to 12.28 percent in August.

The average interest rate on loans reached 14.01 percent in September 2015.

The average rate on loans in freely convertible currency made up 10.10 percent in September 2016 compared to 10.21 percent in August 2016 and 12.74 percent in September 2015.

The legal entities received manat loans on an average rate of 8.30 percent in September compared to 8.20 percent in August 2016 and 9.97 percent in September 2015.

The average rate on bank lending to the corporate clients in foreign currency amounted to 6.08 percent in September 2016 compared to 6.17 percent in August and 8.92 percent in September 2015.

As of September 2016, the average rate on manat loans to physical entities amounted to 16.48 percent compared to 16.41 percent in August and 17.80 percent as of October 1, 2015.

The average rate on bank lending to the individual customers in foreign currency was 18.59 percent compared to 18.65 percent and 21.73 percent accordingly.

Mortgage lending

Some 4.3 million manat was allocated from the Azerbaijani state budget to the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund (AMF) in September 2016 to finance the social mortgage, which is 7.5 percent more than in September 2015, said the report.

The total volume of refinancing the loans issued by banks earlier was 0.8 million manat in the previous month.

The budgetary funds obtained by the AMF for social mortgage since early 2016 exceeded 36.7 million manat. In general, 50 million manat are envisaged for these purposes in the state budget in 2016.

During September, as in the previous four months, Azerbaijani banks didn’t issue any home loan, while in January-September 2015, the volume of mortgage lending totaled 392.6 million manat.

The mortgage bonds were not placed in September 2016 and during the whole year. The suspension of mortgage lending is associated with the reorganization of the AMF, the fund will continue issuing loans after the approval of the relevant legal acts.

The average monthly amount of the loan issued by the authorized banks of the AMF amounted to 40,882 manat in September 2016 (this figure amounted to 40,737 manat in September 2015).

The average loan period is 280 months (280 months), the average annual interest rate is 6.7 percent (6.71 percent a year earlier), and the average amount of payments is 295.8 manat (297 manat).

In general, the AMF’s authorized credit organizations issued 17,997 mortgage loans worth more than 730.8 million manat from 2006 up till now.

According to the new mortgage loan issuance order, approved in June 2016, an ordinary mortgage loan will be issued only to Azerbaijani citizens and only in the national currency for a term from 3 years to 25 years, while preferential mortgage - up to 30 years to purchase a residential area, owned by the citizen. Interest rates on conventional mortgage must not exceed eight percent, while 4 percent per annum in preferential mortgage loan.

The maximum amount of the mortgage loan (including preferential) is determined by Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund JSC and must not exceed the cost of repaired housing with an average of 100 square meters in zone #7 in Baku. Annual interest rates on the loan are determined by the company’s Supervisory Board.

The amount of preferential mortgage loan must be 85 percent of the cost of purchased housing by the date of the loan issuance, except for cases when a borrower appeals to decrease the loan amount. The amount of conventional mortgage loan must not be less than 75 percent and more than 85 percent of the cost of purchased housing by the moment of the loan issuance, except for the cases when a borrower appeals to decrease the loan amount.

The monthly payment for a mortgage loan must not exceed 70 percent of a debtor's monthly income. The age of the borrower must not exceed the retirement age according to the legislation. An agreement on life insurance is required.

The family members of war victims, national heroes, internally displaced people, civil servants with at least a three years' experience, teachers of secondary schools with at least a five-year service term, PhDs, doctors of science and those having special merits in sport as well as the military with at least a three-year service term can use the preferential conditions. Each family having the right to such a mortgage loan can use it only once.

At present, the authorized banks of the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund are 26 banks.

The participants of the mortgage market are 18 insurance companies [in total, 24 companies] and 16 appraisal organizations.

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.

The total amount of deposits in the country's banks amounted to 4.879 billion manat in September 2016, increasing by 8.8 percent for the month.

The amount of deposits in the Azerbaijani national currency – manat reached 21.4 percent in September compared to 18.95 percent as of late August.

Almost 60 percent of manat deposits accounted for demand deposits, the rest amount - term deposits, the report said.

According to the report, the deposits in freely convertible currency decreased by 6.4 percent up to 17.963 billion manat for the month (4.814 billion manat - demand deposits, 13.149 billion manat - term deposits).

The share of the deposits in freely convertible currency in the banks’ deposit base decreased from 81.05 percent to 78.6 percent for the month, the report said.

Thus, as of early October, total deposits of physical and legal entities in the country's banks amounted to 22.842 billion manat (a 3.5 percent decrease for the month and a 30.7 percent increase for the year).

According to the report, the physical entities' deposits reached 7.814 billion manat in September 2016.

Most of the physical entities' deposits accounted for the ones in the foreign currency – 81.7 percent or 6.388 billion manat, the report said.

According to the report, the population’s deposits decreased by almost 1.5 percent for the month and increased by almost 7 percent per annum.

The total volume of the legal entities’ deposits in Azerbaijani banks reached 15.028 billion manat or by 10.166 (47.8 percent) more than in September 2015, the report said.

As of early October, the amount of the Azerbaijani financial organizations’ deposits reached 5.872 billion mantas compared to 4.744 billion manat in September 2015.

The amount of the Azerbaijani non-financial organizations’ deposits reached 9.156 billion manat compared to 5.062 billion manat in September 2015.

The population’s deposits, attracted to Azerbaijan’s banking system from the country’s districts (except for Baku), totaled 476.82 million manat in January-September 2016, that is, 6.1 percent of the total bank deposits, the report said.

During the reporting period, the amount of deposits in Baku amounted to 7.34 billion manat, while the deposits in the national currency - 1.19 billion manat.

According to the report, the foreign currency savings of the residents of Azerbaijani districts amounted to 237.87 million manat or 49.8 percent of all deposits in the banks in the districts in the reporting period.

For comparison, this figure amounted to 247.6 million manat in August or 51.3 percent of total deposits in the districts.

As of September 2016, the average interest rate throughout the country and Baku reached 5.2 percent.

Thus, the Absheron economic region is still the leader in attracting the population’s deposits by the banks (148.25 million manat, average rate – 6.4 percent per annum).

During this period, the volume of deposits in the Aran economic region – 80.68 million manat at a rate of 4.9 percent, Mountainous Shirvan – 10.38 million manat at a rate of 4.9 percent, Ganja-Gazakh – 107.81 million manat at a rate 5.8 percent, Guba-Khachmaz – 31.57 million manat at a rate of 5.9 percent, Lankaran – 35.76 million manat - the rate of 6.3 percent, Sheki-Zagatala – 27.83 million manat - the rate of 4.7 percent, Upper Karabakh – 6.96 million manat – 2.8 percent, Kalbajar-Lachin – 0.29 million manat – 9.2 percent, Nakhchivan – 27.28 million manat – the average rate of 2.5 percent.

The average interest rate on deposits in Azerbaijani banks increased in national currency and foreign currency in September 2016, the report said.

The average rate on bank deposits in manat made up 8.75 percent in September 2016 compared to 8.55 percent in August 2016 and 8.73 percent in September 2015.

The average rate on deposits in foreign currency amounted to 5.12 percent in September 2016 compared to 4.97 percent in August 2016 and 8.60 percent in September 2015.

The banks drew deposits of legal entities in manat in the amount of 6.38 percent per annum in September 2016 compared to 6.24 percent in September 2015.

The funds on the accounts denominated in the foreign currency brought 3.77 percent to legal entities in September 2016, 3.36 percent in August 2016 and 5.30 percent in September 2015.

As of October 1, 2016, the average interest rate on deposits of physical entities in manat made up 9.94 percent compared to 9.80 percent as of September 1 and 9.45 percent as of October 1, 2015.

The interest rates on deposits of physical entities in foreign currency are as follows: 6.02 percent in September 2016, 6.173 percent in August 2016 and 9.21 percent in September 2015.

Azerbaijani banks sold $222.66 million in September 2016. According to the report, the sale of dollars decreased by 8.5 percent compared to the previous month, while by more than twofold compared to September 2015.

The banks bought $156.99 million in September 2016, which is 23 percent less than in August and 2.2 times less than in September 2015.

Volume of foreign exchange operations in September 2016

Currency

Purchase (thousand standard unit)

Sale (thousand standard unit)

US dollar

156 993,2

222 661,1

pound sterling

670,3

4 346,8

euro

23 077

58 342,1

Russian ruble

1 076 646,6

172 975

The amount of pounds sterling purchased by banks decreased by 13.2 percent compared to August 2016 and increased by 2.3 times compared to September 2015. The amount of pounds sterling sold by the banks decreased by 18.5 percent for the month and by 33.8 percent compared to September 2015.

The banks increased the purchase of euros by 6.07 percent in September 2016 compared to August and by 2.3 times compared to September 2015. The banks increased the sale of euros by 22.3 percent for the month. The index decreased by almost 27.6 percent for the year.

The banks decreased the purchase of Russian rubles by 11.5 percent for the month, while their volume increased by 31.7 percent compared to September 2015.

The banks decreased the sale of Russian rubles for the month by 14.1 percent, while their volume increased by 32.9 percent for the year.

There are 32 banks, including two state-owned banks, in Azerbaijan.

Payment card market

The total turnover on payment cards via ATMs and POS-terminals in September 2016 amounted to 1.03 billion manat or by 7.5 percent more than in the same period of 2015, according to the report.

According to the report, the number of transactions with payment cards reached 6.8 million units decreasing by 3.2 percent for the year.

The number of transactions on debit cards equaled 5.92 million units totaling 0.8 billion manat during the reporting period.

Of the total number of transactions, 4.39 million transactions amounting to 759 million manat were implemented on debit cards via ATMs within the country, and around 400,000 transactions amounting to 73 million manat via POS-terminals.

As much as 856,000 transactions worth 143 million manat were made on credit cards in September 2016.

Of the total number of transactions on credit cards, 183,000 transactions worth 53 million manat were implemented via ATMs and there were 266,000 transactions worth 36 million manat via POS-terminals.

The number of payment cards in Azerbaijan decreased by 8.4 percent in September and reached up to 5.17 million units compared to the same period of 2015.

Of the total number of cards, 4.466 million units accounted for debit cards, in particular, 2.284 million - social cards, 1.537 million - salary cards, 0.645 million - other cards. The number of credit cards was 708,000.

As of October 1, 2016, as many as 2,545 ATMs operated in the country of which 1,398 are located in Baku and 1,147 in other cities and districts of the country. The total number decreased by 162 units or 6.0 percent for the year compared to September 2015.

The number of POS-terminals amounted to 74,404 units of which 41,648 are installed in Baku and 32,756 units in other cities and districts as of late September 2016.

The number of POS-terminals has decreased by 2,766 units or 3.6 percent for the year.

Stock market

The total turnover of exchange transactions on all instruments at the Baku Stock Exchange reached almost 3.67 billion manat in January-September 2016, that is, twofold less than in the same period of 2015.

The volume of the state securities market totaled 380.1 million manat (19.2 times growth for the year), while the turnover of corporate securities market reached 79.67 million manat (21.7 times decrease).

The volume of derivatives market reached 3.2 billion manat (1.8 times decrease).

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