November 30, 2018 / 1:39 PM / 18 days ago

Azerbaijan passes 2019 budget, expects GDP to rise 3.6 pct next year

BAKU, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s parliament on Friday passed a budget for 2019 based on an oil price estimate of $60 per barrel and gross domestic product (GDP) growth next year of 3.6 percent.

A recovery in the price of oil, which together with gas accounts for about 75 percent of state revenue and 45 percent of GDP, has improved the economic prospects for the ex-Soviet country.

The government expects the economy to expand 2 percent this year and its budget for 2018 is based on an oil price of $55 per barrel.

The budget sees annual inflation slowing to 3-4 percent in 2019 from 6.1 percent anticipated this year.

Azerbaijan’s budget deficit is expected to widen to 2.022 billion manats ($1.2 billion) in 2019, or 2.5 percent of GDP, up from 951 million manats or 1.3 percent of GDP projected for this year.

Revenues are seen at 23.2 billion manats in 2019, up from 22.2 billion projected for this year. Spending is expected at 25.2 billion manats, up from 23.1 billion in 2018.

The government expects a slight rise in oil output next year to 38.5 million tonnes from 37.8 million expected in 2018. Natural gas production is also expected to rise to 36.91 billion cubic metres (bcm) from 30.2 bcm foreseen this year. ($1=1.7 manats) (Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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