Azerbaijan: Bouncing back from the brink

Published: April 30, 2018

Azerbaijan is still in recovery mode after the sharp drop in oil prices sent the economy and banking sector reeling, but the country’s corporate borrowers are investing again and banks are predicting big growth to loan books.

The oil dependent Azerbaijani economy took a battering between 2014 and 2016, when oil prices plummeted on oversupply fears and took the country’s GDP down with it. Azerbaijan’s GDP fell from US$75.24bn in 2014 to US$37.85bn two years later, according to Trading Economics. 

Problems were then compounded when the central bank sharply devaluated the manat twice during 2015, pushing the currency from 1.27 against the dollar to 0.64. At the time, fixed income investors said the move was misjudged, and manat liquidity in the country quickly dried up.

Perhaps the biggest casualty was the International Bank of Azerbaijan, the county’s largest bank, which defaulted on US$3.3bn of debt in 2017 and sent shockwaves through the domestic banking sector and international investors. 

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