(EnergyAsia, December 16 2013, Monday) — Buoyed by an improving outlook in the global economy, the economies of the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region are expected to grow by a collective 6.1% next year, up from an annual average of 5.8% in 2012 and 2013, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The fund said the region’s outlook has been boosted by the expanded production in hydrocarbons and other extractive industries as well as firm growth in domestic demand, supported by stable remittance inflows.
The region’s four hydrocarbon-exporting economies of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are projected to grow by a combined six percent in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014.
After surging by 11.1% last year, Turkmenistan’s economy will remain the star performer with growth expected to reach 12.2% this year and 10.4% in 2014. Second-placed Uzbekistan is seen growing by 7% this year and 6.5% in 2014, a significant slowdown from last year’s 8.2%.
The four hydrocarbon-importing countries of Armenia, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan will grow at a slower rate of about five percent in 2013 and 5.5% in 2014, said the IMF.
As a whole, the region faces political and economic risks from its growing dependence on China and Russia, weak commodity prices and an economic slowdown in oil and gas exports, said the IMF.
“Russia’s slowdown, in particular, is an important source of risk for the oil importers, in light of its close linkages with the region. Remittances from migrants working in Russia have so far remained strong, but a marked slowdown in that country could reverse this situation,” it said.