Azerbaijani Central Bank chairman: Drop in oil prices hasn’t much impacted trade

The sharp drop in oil prices hasn’t significantly impacted either the trade or the balance of payments of Azerbaijan, Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBAR) Chairman Elman Rustamov said at the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting.

The situation in the global energy market and its impact on the economy were discussed at the meeting in the Cabinet of Ministers, headed by Azerbaijan’s Prime Minister Ali Asadov.

The chairman made the statement touching upon the tension felt in recent days in the exchange market due to oil prices drop.

“Azerbaijani economy is dynamically developing. Today our country is fully ready for such challenges. We have sufficient crisis management experience. On the other hand, during the period of high oil prices, our strategic foreign exchange reserves have been increased,” he emphasized.

“Today’s growth is about $10 billion. This affords us to possess the means and tools for impacting such situations. The shock comes from outside. That is, it is not caused by the economic, social or political processes in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, a sharp drop in oil prices in a short time on the world market hasn’t much impacted either the trade or the balance of payments of our country,” said the chairman.
Answering to the prime minister’s questions on whether any restrictions are applied in connection with the foreign currency sale and what measures can be undertaken to mitigate the negative impacts, Rustamov noted that in such cases the demand for currency in foreign exchange auctions and market grows.

“To meet this demand, the Central Bank held an auction on March 10. Today extraordinary auction was held. At these and other auctions, we have fully met all the needs of the market,” he said.

“Also, a sufficient amount of cash currency was imported into the country in advance and all the needs of banks in cash and non-cash currency were fully met. At the same time, there are no restrictions for intra-bank conversion or conversion of physical and legal entities’ deposits to the extent possible for the banks,” the chairman noted.

“Despite this, we observe queues in banks. It was decided to extend the daily working hours of banks by an hour. Besides, the Central Bank and entities of the financial and banking sector will be open on both Saturday and Sunday in usual working regime. Therefore, our citizens, using these opportunities, can exchange their money at currency exchange points in non-working days, too. On the other hand, following the Government’s instructions, we will plan our work schedule for holidays as well,” Rustamov added.