October 23, 2018 / 2:40 PM / 25 days ago

Azerbaijan's GDP seen up 3.6 pct in 2019 - budget draft

BAKU, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s gross domestic product is expected to grow 3.6 percent in 2019, up from 2 percent expected this year, a draft of the country’s next year budget, obtained by Reuters, showed.

The budget draft, which was approved by the government and submitted to the parliament on Tuesday, is based on the oil price of $60 per barrel, up from $55 per barrel in the budget for this year.

A recovery in the price of oil, which with gas accounts for about 75 percent of state revenues and 45 percent of GDP, has improved the economic situation in the Caucasus country.

The country’s GDP increased 0.8 percent in January-September this year compared with the same period last year, and Moody’s said in August it expected the economy to grow by 1.5 percent in 2018 and 3 percent in 2019, amid the further increase in oil prices and the growth of Azeri exports.

The government expects a slight rise in oil output next year to 38.496 million tonnes from 37.848 million expected in 2018. Natural gas production is expected to rise to 36.909 billion cubic metres (bcm) from 30.205 bcm foreseen this year.

The budget draft sees annual inflation slowing to 3.8 percent in 2019 from 6.1 percent anticipated this year.

Revenues are seen at 22.9 billion manats ($13.5 billion) next year, up from 22.2 billion manats projected for this year. Spending is expected at 24.8 billion manats, up from 23.1 billion manats in 2018.

The budget deficit is expected to rise to 1.86 billion manats or 2.3 percent to the GDP, up from 951 million manats or 1.3 percent to the GDP projected this year. ($1=1.7 manats) (Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Alison Williams)

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