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IMF raises forecast for current operations in Azerbaijan

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This year, Azerbaijan's current account surplus is expected to reach 7.8% of gross domestic product (GDP), the October issue of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) "Recovery During a Pandemic" report reveals.

Under the document, in 2022, Azerbaijan's current account surplus is projected at 7.7% of GDP. In the April forecast, this figure was 1.1% and 0.5%, respectively.

It should be noted that in the updated World Bank report for Europe and Central Asia, Azerbaijan's current account surplus this year was projected at 6.9% of GDP, next year at 6.4%, and in 2023 at 4.5%.

According to the Finance Ministry, in 2021, Azerbaijan's current account surplus is projected at a deficit of 3.1% of GDP, or about $1.4 billion.

"The current and next year's trade surplus will not fully cover the current account deficit. Although the current account deficit is projected for this and next year, according to various oil price scenarios, a surplus is expected in the medium term, which will strengthen stability in the foreign exchange market. However, the reduction in the deficit in the balance of services in the coming years will have an increasing impact on the formation of a surplus in the current account balance.

“In the post-pandemic period, along with the main recovery trends in the country's economy, the level of export diversification is expected to increase. As a result of measures taken to minimize dependence on imports by increasing domestic production, the volume of goods exported from the country is expected to increase. Against the background of the implementation of a number of important measures to promote the production and export of competitive non-oil products, a steady increase in the foreign trade balance is expected in the medium term," the ministry said.

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Former head of Iranian Central Bank sentenced to 10 years on corruption charges

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A former governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Valiollah Seif, was sentenced on Saturday to 10 years in prison on corruption charges involving the mismanagement of millions of dollars, the judiciary said.

Report informs, citing Reuters, that Seif and two of his deputies, who also received jail terms, were found guilty of "disturbing the foreign exchange market, the country's economic climate and mismanagement,” a judiciary spokesman was quoted as saying by state media.

State TV said Seif and one of his deputies, Ahmad Araghchi, who was sentenced to eight years in jail, had "provided illegal conditions for the mismanagement of about $160 million and 20 million euros."

Another deputy, Salar Aghakhani, was sentenced to 13 years.

Seif led the central bank from 2013 to 2018 under former President Hassan Rouahni's administration. He was replaced by Abdolnasser Hemmati.

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How did natural gas tariffs change in Azerbaijan?

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At today's meeting, the Tariff Council adopted relevant decisions on the regulation of wholesale and retail tariffs for natural gas.

Report informs that, according to the decision, in the population category, tariffs increased by AZN 0.02 for annual consumption of up to 1,200 cubic meters (1,200 cubic meters included) and AZN 0.12 for one cubic meter.

Tariffs for the population within the consumption limits of 1,200 to 2,500 cubic meters and over 2,500 cubic meters remained unchanged at AZN 0.20 and AZN 0.25, respectively. Gas tariffs for industry and agriculture in the non-population category are increased from AZN 0.20 to AZN 0.22.

The tariff for gas sold by Azeristiliktejizat OJSC to yard boiler houses and CNG filling stations increases from AZN 0.13 to 0.171. Tariffs for gas supplied to other consumers remain at the same level of AZN 0.25 per 1,000 cubic meters and for gas used as crude in the production of methanol and urea products at AZN 0.20.

The tariff for gas sold by Azerkontrakt OJSC to Azerenerji OJSC for energy generation is increased from AZN 0.13 to AZN 0.171. The tariff for gas purchased from the Azneft PA increases from AZN 0.75 to AZN 0.9.

Moreover, the tariff for gas sold by Azerkontrakt OJSC to Azneft PU and Nakhchivangaz PU increases from AZN 0.11 to AZN 0.118.

The manufacturer buys natural gas at a negotiated price for the production of electricity supplied to data centers that carry out activities for processing, recording, and transmitting data, which receive power directly through the 35 and 110 kV lines, where the daily demand for loads is stable, and the average monthly energy consumption for production targets is at least 5 million kWh.

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NATO Special Rep for Caucasus and Central Asia to visit Baku

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NATO Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Javier Colomina will arrive in Azerbaijan next week, Report informs, citing Colomina's Twitter page.

"Looking forward to my first trip to the Caucasus next week. I will be visiting Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia in my new capacity as NATO Special Rep for the Caucasus and Central Asia in order to identify ways to further enhance NATO’s engagement in the Caucasus," he tweeted.

Looking forward to my first trip to the #Caucasus next week. I will be visiting #Azerbaijan , #Georgia , and #Armenia in my new capacity as #NATO Special Rep for the Caucasus and Central Asia in order to identify ways to further enhance NATO’s engagement in the Caucasus.

— Javier Colomina (@JavierColominaP) October 16, 2021

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