Azerbaijan growth slows to 0.1% - Emirates24|7

Azerbaijan growth slows to 0.1%

Energy-rich Azerbaijan's economic growth slowed for the fifth successive year in 2011 to 0.1 percent on falling oil production while inflation jumped to 7.9 percent, officials said.

The growth figure compared to five-percent economic expansion in 2010 in the ex-Soviet nation, the latest in a series of annual declines since oil-fuelled growth hit 34.5 percent in 2006.

Azerbaijan last year extracted 45.4 million tonnes of oil -- a 10.5 percent fall from 2010, which state energy officials had predicted due to maintenance work -- and 25.7 billion cubic meters of gas, 2.2 percent less than in 2010, the state statistics committee said.

Gross domestic product totaled 50.1 billion Azerbaijani manats (ê63.8 billion, 49.7 billion euros) in 2010, 24.2 billion manats of which was derived from oil revenues, the state statistics committee said.

Foreign direct investment grew 3.2 percent to 2.5 billion manats.

Inflation meanwhile rose to 7.9 percent in 2011 from 5.7 percent the previous year.

A mainly Muslim country strategically located between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan is a key partner in projects delivering energy from the Caspian Sea to the West through pipelines through Turkey, bypassing Russia.

The World Bank predicts 3.1-percent growth for Azerbaijan in 2012.

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