Tag Archives: GDP

Armenia raises interest rate to highest level since Dec. 2016

YEREVAN/JUNE 15 2021 (The Bulletin) — Armenia’s Central Bank said that the economy had rebounded faster than expected from both losing a war against Azerbaijan and also from the coronavirus pandemic, giving PM Nikol Pashinyan a boost ahead of a tight election.

The Central Bank also raised interest rates by half a percentage point to 6.5%, its highest level since 2016, strengthening the Armenian dram against the US dollar.

“Gross demand is recovering faster than expected, mainly due to the rapid growth of global demand, increased remittances, the high growth rate of private consumption, while private investment activity remains weak,” the Central Bank said in its statement.

Armenians vote in a parliamentary election on June 20. Polls put Mr Pashinyan ahead of his main contender, former president Robert Kocharyan, but they have also suggested that he may not win a majority.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Coronavirus rips into region’s economies

MARCH 11 (The Bulletin) — Fresh economic data showed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economies of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. In Kyrgyzstan, the National Statistics Committee said that the economy was 8.9% smaller in Jan. and February this year compared to the same period in 2020; in Kazakhstan, economy minister Aset Iragliev said that GDP had shrunk by 2.9% in the year to end-Feb; in Azerbaijan, the State Statistics Agency said that the economy was 3.2% smaller now than last year.

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— This story was published in issue 475 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 15 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Georgia’s economy shrinks in 2020

DEC. 31 2020 (The Bulletin) — Georgia’s economy shrunk by 7.7% in 2020 because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Geostat said, more than the 4% that economists had predicted earlier in the year (Dec. 31). Economists have now said that they expect these worse-than-predicted results to be played out across the region

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— This story was first published in issue 467 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Georgian economy shrinks by 6%

JULY 31 (The Bulletin) — Georgia’s economy was 5.8% smaller by the end of June compared to the same period in 2019 because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed. This is in line with previous estimates for a coronavirus-linked recession. In the first six months of 2019, Georgia’s economy had grown by 4.9%.

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— This story was published in issue 455 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on July 31 2020.

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

ADB says Georgia’s debt-to-GDP rate will soar

JUNE 19 (The Bulletin) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that although Georgia has navigated through the impact of the coronavirus pretty well, so far, its debt-to-GDP ratio will still jump up to 62.5% this year compared to 44.5% last year. ADB country director, Shane Rosenthal, said that the economic downturn was also an opportunity for Georgian businesses to regenerate “more diversified and inclusive”. Georgia’s economy is set to contract by 5% this year because of the impact of the coronavirus.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

ADB cuts growth rates for the South Caucasus

JUNE 18 (The Bulletin) — The Asian Development Bank (ABD) joined other international finances institutions in cutting its expected growth rates for the economies of the South Caucasus because of the impact of lockdowns imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It said that Georgia’s economy would now contract by 4.9%, Armenia’s would shrink by 3.5% and Azerbaijan’s by 0.1%.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Thousands of Tajik workers return home

DUSHANBE/April 5 (The Bulletin) — Thousands of Tajik workers have returned early from jobs in Russia because of a lockdown triggered by the spread of the coronavirus, threatening to undermine the Tajik economy which is one of the most remittance-reliant economies in the world.

An estimated 500,000 Tajiks work in Russia – labouring on building sites, selling roses at train stations, cleaning streets and other menial jobs – and they send home the equivalent of around a third of Tajikistan’s annual GDP. The numbers are similar for Kyrgyzstan. 

Economists have said that the combined drag of the coronavirus pandemic and a crash in oil prices may tip Russia into a recession. 

The last time the Russian economy contracted, in 2015, the knock-on effect to the Tajik economy was significant.

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— This story was first published in issue 441 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Coronavirus undermines region’s projected growth

ALMATY/April 5 (The Bulletin) — The coronavirus will undermine what had looked like a strong year of economic growth in 2020 and instead knock the Central Asia and South Caucasus region into a recession.

Of the six countries in the region that have declared states-of-emergencies and infections of the coronavirus, only Kazakhstan has officially said that its economy will shrink in 2020 but analysts expect others to follow.

Kazakh economy minister Ruslan Dalenov said on April 2 that the combined impact of the coronavirus and a fall in oil prices mean that Kazakhstan’s economy will shrink by 0.9% in 2020.

Oil is Kazakhstan’s main export and with prices dropping by 40% to around $35/barrel because of a price war and a drop in demand triggered by the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Mr Dalenov said oil exports would fall.

“A decrease is also expected compared to previously approved growth rates in the manufacturing industry, agriculture, construction and the services sector, including trade,” he said. 

Kazakhstan had previously predicted GDP growth of 4.5% for 2020. It last went into a recession in 2016 after a previous oil price collapse.

In Armenia, the Central Bank is still predicting GDP growth this year but only of 0.7%, down from an earlier prediction of 7.6%.

Other countries have held off giving predictions on the economic cost of the spread of the coronavirus although they have all said that their original growth estimates are likely to be heavily reduced.

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— This story was first published in issue 441 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Kazakhstan cuts its interest rate to help business deal with the coronavirus

APRIL 3 (The Bulletin) — Having increased its key interest rate to 12% from 9.5% last month to try to prop up its ailing currency against the dual impact of a collapse in oil prices and the spread of the coronavirus, Kazakhstan’s  Central Bank slashed it back down to 9.5%.

It said that the interest rate cut was needed to help businesses emerge intact from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kazakhstan has also been one of the first countries in the region to admit that its economy may contract after the shock of the pandemic.

Kazakhstan’s deputy finance minister Berik Sholpankulov said that the government would borrow $3b on foreign capital markets to fund economic recovery projects which include a massive state-sponsored construction spree that will employ thousands of people.

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— This story was first published in issue 441 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Armenia says the coronavirus will wipe out any potential GDP growth

APRIL 2 (The Bulletin) — Armenia’s economy minister, Tigran Khachatryan, said that the coronavirus will wipe out any previously projected economic growth this year.

Economists had been predicting another strong year of growth for Armenia with a GDP rise of around 7.5% but it has been hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus – with 822 infections, the highest in the region – and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The Armenian Central Bank has also said that economic growth will slow to 0.7% in 2020, but Mr Khachatryan, the economy minister, said that it was too early to even predict this level of growth.

“We believe that in 2020 there will be a significant reduction in economic indicators as opposed to optimistic forecasts made at the beginning of the year,” he was said.

Fitch, the ratings agency, warned that the economic fallout from the coronavirus will damage Armenia’s banking sector and increase the ratio of nonperforming loans. It also said the government’s current account deficit would increase from 1% of GDP to 5%.

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— This story was first published in issue 441 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020