January 18, 2012 / 1:40 PM / 8 years ago

Azeri GDP growth slows to 0.1 pct in 2011

BAKU, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Economic growth in Azerbaijan all but ground to a halt in 2011, slowing to 0.1 percent from the 5.0 percent level recorded in 2010, mainly due to shrinking oil and gas production, the State Statistics Committee said on Wednesday.

Analysts and official sources have said the fall in the oil and gas sector was due to repair work on some drilling platforms and refineries.

GDP growth in Azerbaijan has slowed dramatically since the oil-fuelled boom of 2003-2007, during which the economy expanded by an average 21 percent per year.

Oil production in Azerbaijan last year fell 10.7 percent year-on-year to 45.4 million tonnes from 50.8 million tonnes in 2010. Natural gas output fell 2.3 percent to 25.7 billion cubic metres (bcm) from 26.3 bcm in 2010.

In nominal terms, GDP totalled 50.1 billion manats ($63.0 billion) in 2011 compared with 41.6 billion manats in 2010.

The country’s GDP growth slowed to 5.0 percent in 2010 from 9.3 percent in 2009, but was still above the government’s target of 4.8 percent.

The International Monetary Fund projected a 1.1 percent contraction in Azeri GDP in 2011 and had urged Azerbaijan to diversify its shrinking economy in order to reduce its reliance on oil. ($1=0.8 manats) (Reporting by Lada Yevgrashina; writing by Margarita Antidze in Tbilisi; editing by Stephen Nisbet)

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