In summary order, the total economic data for 2018 is as follows:

The economic growth rate of Azerbaijan in 2018 was 1.4% compared with 0.1% in 2017.

Despite the government's efforts to diversify the economy and statements about reducing its dependence on oil and gas revenues, GDP growth in the non-oil sector was 1.8%, while in 2017 this figure was at the level of 2.7%.

Azerbaijan"s foreign exchange reserves in 2018 increased only by $ 3 billion to $ 45 billion, and this, with high world oil prices, is the main export product of the country, and in 2017 foreign exchange reserves increased by $ 4.5 billion (year total $ 42 billion), although the oil sector showed a decline.

The growth of foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of the country in 2018 amounted to 5.4% to $ 5.62 billion.

But the main foreign exchange reserves are accumulated in the State Oil Fund (SOFAZ) and are formed mainly from the sale of oil, gas and condensate.

It is noteworthy that in 2018, SOFAZ"s revenues from the sale of profitable oil of Azerbaijan from the ACG block and condensate from the Shah Deniz field amounted to $ 9 billion 720 million.

And, in accordance with the obligations to the government and the budget, the State Oil Fund sold foreign currency in the amount of $ 6 billion 455.2 million at a currency auction in 2018 (an increase of 79.4% compared with 2017).

SOFAZ also participated in the financing of a number of strategic projects in the country and bought almost 21 thousand kg of gold for $ 1 billion.

By the beginning of 2019, the external public debt of Azerbaijan reached about $ 9.7 billion (a 3.2% increase over the year), since the country has increased liabilities for external payments.

So it turned out that high world oil prices in 2018 did not help Azerbaijan to significantly increase its foreign exchange reserves.

In 2019, the government and international financial institutions have high hopes for a significant increase in gas and condensate production from Shah Deniz (by 53%), as well as the effect of tax and customs reforms.

"The past 2018 was a period of deep reforms, there was an increase in agriculture by 4.6%, also in tourism, in transport (thanks to the opening of the new port of Alat). I am sure that the economic growth goals we set for 2019 will be fulfilled, and in this regard, tax and customs reforms are of great importance. In 2019, Azerbaijan will continue the process of gasification, provision of drinking water to the regions, laying rural and main roads, carrying out reclamation measures, and improving social living conditions of immigrants, disabled people of the Karabakh war, martyr families and military personnel," the President said.

According to I. Aliyev, in 2019 new schools, medical institutions, sports and Olympic complexes, ASAN centers, factories and factories will be built in Azerbaijan.

The President noted the importance of the implementation of additional steps for the development of entrepreneurship, the opening of new trading houses abroad, and the creation of new industrial parks and neighborhoods in the republic.

The head of state expressed confidence in the success of reforms implemented in the areas of agriculture and tourism.

Inflation in the country is under control and it has slowed down dramatically, which, according to the authorities, guarantees stability in the country.

The average annual inflation in Azerbaijan at the end of the year was 2.3% (compared to 12.9% in 2017). Thus, in 2018, the average annual inflation in food products was 1.7%, in non-food products - 2.6%, and in services - 2.7%.

Certain successes of Azerbaijan for 2018 were reflected in the World Bank"s Doing Business report distributed in October 2018. In this report, Azerbaijan was included in the list of 10 reformist states in the world (it conducted the largest number of economic and institutional reforms). Progressing in this report by 32 steps compared with 2017, Azerbaijan ranked 25th among 190 countries and rose to the leading position among the CIS countries.

Note that the reports Doing Business are the main factor for investors - to invest (in the economy of a country) or not.

Important for investors and businessmen is also the Global Competitiveness Index, compiled annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for 140 countries in the world.

Azerbaijan in 2017 took the 35th place on this Index - the highest in the history of the country's participation in the research of this Davos Forum, whereas in 2018 it was 69th.

At the same time, the current account balance of payments surplus in Azerbaijan is growing, and by the end of 2018, it will amount (according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) to 6.6% of GDP against 4.1% of GDP in 2017, which demonstrates positive trade trends with almost 15% growth in non-oil exports).

In the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan in 2019, according to government forecasts, an increase of 3.9% is expected, and in the oil sector - 3.1%. The growth rates of GDP themselves in the current year are stated at 3.5-3.6% per annum.

Inflation will remain in the corridor 3-4%.

The increase in GDP growth rates compared to 2018 is associated with an increase in gas production from the Shah Deniz field, as well as with the implementation of the objectives for the development of the non-oil sector.

This was stated both in the speeches of the Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev and in the EBRD research.

"In 2019, Azerbaijan"s GDP growth will be 3.5%. We expect that Azerbaijan"s GDP in 2018-2019 will gradually grow, including through expanding gas production and increasing the country's export potential," the EBRD said.

According to the IMF, an increase in gas production in Azerbaijan may lead to an increase in oil GDP in 2019 by 5%.

"The daily gas production in Azerbaijan in 2018 will be 0.41 million barrels of oil equivalent versus 0.31 million barrels in 2017, and in 2019 it will increase to 0.54 million barrels of oil equivalent," the IMF experts say.

The international rating agency Fitch Ratings expects the acceleration of the growth rate of the Azerbaijani economy in 2019 "against the backdrop of the restoration of public confidence and an increase in budget spending."

According to the Fitch report on the developing countries of Europe, "Azerbaijan, along with Macedonia and Slovakia, will become the three countries in the region, where in 2019 economic growth will be accelerated."

According to IMF estimates, by the end of 2018, exports of goods and services from Azerbaijan will be $ 23.8 billion (in 2017 - $ 19.8 billion), and in 2019 it will grow to $ 25.6 billion.

The Fund believes that imports in Azerbaijan in 2018 will be $ 19.2 billion, and in 2019 - $ 19.6 billion. At the same time, the development of Azerbaijan"s industry (equipment purchase) is also influenced by the growth of purchasing power of the population, whose cash income growth is three times the rate of inflation (a positive indicator).

According to the latest data, in 2018 Azerbaijan"s industrial growth rate was 1.5%.

The EBRD believes that "moderate diversification of the economy has good prospects for medium-term economic growth in Azerbaijan, and much remains to be done to strengthen the role of the non-oil economy."

One can only hope that the new tax reforms and a 2.2% growth in investment in the economy will indeed be able to give impetus to the development of the country in 2019.

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