By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan is the leader in the South Caucasus region for stable development, according to Fitch Ratings.
Thus, Azerbaijan has maintained its leadership position in 2019 and shown steady growth rates with a rating of BB +, according to a report by the Fitch Ratings International Rating Agency, published on the agency’s website, Trend reported on October 4.
Fitch Ratings economic report for the third quarter of 2019 was based on the evaluation of 22 countries of Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space.
By this indicator, Azerbaijan has the highest stable growth rate in the South Caucasus.
Under the report, the main factors affecting Azerbaijan’s ratings, are maintaining a surplus of external balance in trade relations and a low level of external public debt relative to GDP.
Also, Azerbaijan’s position in the ranking was positively influenced by reforms in the macroeconomics, financial market, taxation and social protection of the population, which entail inflation control and the country’s ability to quickly respond to the current and future external economic crises.
The economy diversification and reduction of dependence on the oil sector were also mentioned in the Fitch Ratings analysis as factors playing an important role in strengthening the country's leadership position.
Fitch Ratings Inc. is one of the "Big Three credit rating agencies”, the other two being Moody's and Standard & Poor's. It is one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975.
As for current economic indicators, the GDP growth in Azerbaijan amounted to 2.2 percent in January-May 2019 compared to the corresponding period in 2018.
According to the State Statistics Committee, 46 percent of GDP production accounts for industry, 9.9 percent - for trade, 6.4 percent - for transport and warehousing, 5.9 percent - for construction, 3.7 percent - for agriculture, forestry and fishing, 2.6 percent - for tourists accommodation and public catering, 1.8 percent - for information and communications, and 14.4 percent - for other spheres.
Considering the forecasts on the country’s economy in 2019, World Bank and EBRD forecast approximately equal figures for GDP growth - 3.3 and 3.5 percent, respectively. Forecast figures of Fitch agency coincide with predictions of EBRD. IMF forecasts that the growth rate of the Azerbaijani economy will be 3.4 percent in 2019.
Meanwhile IMF and WB forecast 3.1 and 3.5 percent, respectively, of GDP growth in Azerbaijan in 2020, while ADB expects 2.7 percent.
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