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Fitch: Azerbaijan to continue to experience broad social and political stability.

By Trend

Azerbaijan will continue to experience broad social and political stability, Fitch Ratings said.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Azerbaijan's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB+' with a Stable Outlook.

Higher oil prices and gas output and uptick in the agriculture and tourism sectors should push up growth to 2 percent in 2018.

Macro-stability improved further as inflation fell to 3.2 percent over the first five months of 2018, from 12.9 percent in 2017 due to the stable exchange rate.

Dollarisation decreased to 63 percent of deposits and 39 percent of loans in May 2018 (67 percent and 41 percent at end-December 2017).

"The current account turned into a surplus in 2017 and we expect it to reach 6.4 percent of GDP in 2018, compared with a current 'BB' median deficit of 2.6 percent of GDP," Fitch Ratings said.

Higher oil prices, completion of the Southern Gas Corridor project and production from the Shah Deniz Stage II field will boost hydrocarbon exports. Rising external surplus will help rebuild foreign exchange reserves and State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan's (SOFAZ) assets.

Fitch forecasts Brent Crude to average USD70/b in 2018, USD65/b in 2019 and USD57.5/b in 2020.

The full list of rating actions is as follows:

Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR affirmed at 'BB+' Outlook Stable

Long-Term Local-Currency IDR affirmed at 'BB+' Outlook Stable

Short-Term Foreign-Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'

Short-Term Local-Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'

Country Ceiling affirmed at 'BB+'

Issue ratings on long-term senior unsecured foreign-currency bonds affirmed at 'BB+'

Issue ratings on long-term senior unsecured local-currency bonds affirmed at 'BB+'

Issue ratings on short-term senior unsecured local-currency bonds affirmed at 'B'

Issue ratings on short-term senior unsecured foreign-currency bonds affirmed at 'B'

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Publication:Azer News (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Geographic Code:9AZER
Date:Jul 29, 2018
Words:381
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