CESD – the Center for Economic and Social Development – concluded its macro-economic survey results for the first two months of 2018. According to the State Statistic Committee of Azerbaijan, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 1.3% in January-February 2018 compared with the same year of previous year: The CESD’ figure for the same period was 0.9%.
The GDP totaled 11.5 billion manat ($6.76 billion USD) in the first two months of 2018. The State Statistics Committee announced non-oil GDP increased by 2.3%, while oil GDP remained the same as in January-February 2017. According CESD’s calculations, it was found that there was a 0.2% decline in the oil GDP of Azerbaijan in the first two months of 2018. Meanwhile, major economic indicators in the banking sector worsened during the beginning of 2018. According to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, the credit portfolio of Azerbaijani banks was 11.656 billion manat and the portfolio declined by 30.3% by February 2018 compared to the same month of 2017, when the credit portfolio stood at 16.705 billion manat.
In 2015, the Obama administration – in a joint endeavour with the other UN Security Council Permanent Members (UN SC P5) and Germany – drafted an agreement regarding the peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement was labelled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On 8 May 2018, the current US president Donald Trump presented his remarks denouncing the agreement and claiming it “a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program”. Donald Trump also addressed issues such as Iran’s development of ballistic missiles potentially delivering nuclear warheads to US soil, Iran’s support to insurgency groups in the Middle East (even naming Iran an Al-Qaeda supporter) and Tehran’s increased military spending. In light of Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal, the regional developments surrounding Iran deserve new attention. The decision-makers in Washington started revaluating Iran’s foreign and military policy, which become bolder in its neighbouring regions. Now, Iran’s influence stretches from the Mediterranean Sea coastlines to the Hindu Kush mountains; some consider the recent events in Yemen and Bahrain as Iran-inspired as well. As a testament of Iran’s increased influence, Iranian generals negotiate with Kurdish military groups and present them ultimatums on behalf of the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. The ‘Shia-Crescent’ concept has become a regional geopolitical reality.
Fiscal revenues of carbohydrogen rich Azerbaijan is severely dependent on sales of oil, oil products and natural gas. From this point of view the change of oil prices in the global markets is considered as the main indicator for estimating the financial condition of the government. It should be noted that the price of a barrel of oil is estimated to be 45 USD when calculating the state and oil fund budget of the current year.