By Kamila Aliyeva
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has kept the forecast for GDP growth in Uzbekistan in 2017 and 2018 at the level of 6 percent annually.
This was stated in the fund’s October report ‘World Economic Outlook’.
Uzbekistan's inflation will grow from 8 percent in 2016 up to 13 percent in 2017. The growth of inflation in 2018 will be at the level of 12.7 percent, according to the report.
Fund experts predict that the current account balance of Uzbekistan’s balance of payments in 2017 will amount to 0.9 percent of GDP against 1.4 percent in 2016. This figure will amount to 0.3 percent in 2018, the IMF report said.
The IMF emphasizes that Uzbekistan can experience inflationary pressures in connection with the currency reform.
The inflation forecast increased under the influence of various factors including the devaluation of the soum. The Central Bank of Uzbekistan devalued the national currency – soum – by almost two times on September 5, setting the official exchange rate of US dollar at 8,100 soums/USD compared to 4,210.35 soums/USD on September 4.
Simultaneously, restrictions were lifted for legal entities and individuals to convert the national currency.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ordered to remove restrictions from September 5 on currency exchange for the population. Previously, he announced upcoming liberalization of the banking sector and transition to a system of free currency conversion.
Currently, Uzbek people can buy foreign currency solely on plastic payment cards, which can be used abroad without any restrictions.
Earlier, individual entrepreneurs and farmers in Uzbekistan were allowed to withdraw foreign currency from their bank accounts.
In addition, legal entities can purchase foreign currency in banks without restrictions for payment on current international transactions - for the import of goods, works and services, repatriation of profits, repayment of loans, travel expenses and other non-trade transfers.
At the time, physical persons can only sell currency to banks through exchange offices.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz