Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (Dec. 25-29)

Azerbaijan's economy to grow by 1.5% in 2018 - Finance Minister

Azerbaijan's economy will grow by 1.5% next year, said Samir Sharifov, the country’s Finance Minister in an interview with state TV channel AzTV.

"The balance of the foreign trade of the country is positive, and amounts to five billion dollars. The country received more foreign currency. This suggests that the state's measures aimed at reducing dependence on imports yield results", he said.

Of course, he said, there is also the role of raising the price of oil, but at the same time, the policy pursued in the country aimed at stimulating exports and import substitution, give their positive results.

Azerbaijan to use blockchain technology to regulate relations between banks, customers

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) will create a digital identification system for relations between banks and customers based on blockchain technology, according to the CBA’s statement on the main directions of the monetary policy for 2018 and the medium-term period, published in ‘Azerbaijan’ newspaper.

The CBA is actively studying blockchain technology and will implement a pilot project based on this technology.

At the same time, the CBA will continue to expand non-cash payments. The implementation of the corresponding program prepared by the CBA will greatly increase the use of modern payment infrastructure.

Blockchain technology is a way of storing data or a digital register of transactions, contracts. Its main difference and advantage is that this registry is not stored in one place, but it is distributed among several thousand computers worldwide.

The working principle of the blockchain technology is quite simple. Digital records are combined into "blocks", which are then cryptographically and chronologically linked into a "chain" using complex mathematical algorithms. Each block is associated with the previous one and contains a set of records. New blocks are always added to the end of the chain.

Azerbaijan’s Central Bank intends to keep inflation at low level

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) intends to keep inflation at 6-8 percent in 2018, says a CBA statement on main areas of monetary policy for 2018 and medium-term period.

The statement says that for this purpose, the Central Bank is ready to use all the mechanisms and tools available to it.

“A number of foreign and domestic factors can create problems in achieving macroeconomic stability goals. First of all, they include oil prices in world markets that are very low as compared to the forecast, and worsening of the balance of payments as a result of a decrease in economic activity of Azerbaijan’s main trade partners,” says the statement.

“Moreover, the continued rise in global food prices may lead to an additional export of inflation. These and other risks are in the focus of attention of the Azerbaijani government and the Central Bank,” says the statement.

A low level of inflation will also became one of the directions of the Central Bank’s macroeconomic policy in the medium term, according to the statement.

“Low and predictable inflation removes uncertainty, and also allows households and enterprises to make decisions on fees and investments on a broader planning horizon. The central bank sees the inflation targeting mode as an optimal monetary policy regime in the medium and long term, and will continue working in order to implement the conditions for switching to this mode,” says the statement.

According to the forecast of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), inflation rate will be seven percent in Azerbaijan in 2018, while the World Bank (WB) expects the inflation to stand at five percent in the country next year.

According to Azerbaijan’s State Statistics Committee, inflation stood at 13.4 percent in Azerbaijan in January-November 2017.

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