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Discussion Starter · #842 ·
Economy of Uzbekistan is expected to grow by 5.6 per cent in 2021 - EBRD



The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development published its latest Regional Economic Prospects (REP) report, according to which the economy of Uzbekistan is set to grow by 5.6 per cent in 2021 and 6 per cent in 2022. The REP is expecting private consumption and investment to rebound as well.

According to the report key sectors of the national economy such as services, general industry, construction and agriculture have all recorded growth this year. It notes that important market reforms, including privatisation of state-owned enterprises and banks, continue despite the pandemic.
In Central Asia overall, the outlook has also been revised up, although the recovery is far from uniform. The region’s economy is seen growing 4.5 per cent in both 2021 and 2022, thanks to higher commodity prices, which benefit commodity exporters, as well as recovering remittances.
With growth of 4.2 per cent in 2021, the recovery of emerging economies in eastern Europe, Central Asia and northern Africa from the Covid-19 pandemic is gathering pace, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says in its latest Regional Economic Prospects report, published today.
This is an upward revision from the 3.6 per cent the Bank forecast for 2021 in its previous report in October 2020. For 2022, the EBRD expects further solid economic expansion of 3.9 per cent. The contraction in output in 2020 was also milder than previously forecast (2.3 per cent rather than 3.9 per cent) thanks to a better overall economic environment late last year due to strong exports and fiscal support.
EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik said: “Although the revised forecasts give reason to be optimistic, huge uncertainty remains with regard to the path of the Covid-19 Delta variant, which poses particularly significant risk for countries that have made less progress on vaccination and for economies highly reliant on international tourism. The picture for 2020 is diverse. While several countries in central Europe and the Baltic states performed well compared with many advanced European economies, thanks to a strong rebound in goods exports, economies heavily reliant on tourism were hard hit. And in countries afflicted by challenging economic circumstances prior to the pandemic, Covid-19 only compounded existing problems.”
The increasing rollout of vaccination programmes and improvements in the public health situation have allowed for a gradual withdrawal of social-distancing measures and other restrictions. As a result, economies have restarted. Industrial production and retail sales have largely recovered and the mobility of people in the regions where the Bank invests has, on average, mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Higher commodity prices have boosted the revenues of commodity exporters and demand for manufacturing exports has been strong. Manufacturing exporters are benefiting from a temporary shift away from services towards manufacturing.
However, the outlook for international tourism remains highly uncertain due to the persistence of widespread travel restrictions, so tourism-dependent economies continue to suffer. Foreign direct investment, meanwhile, remains far below pre-crisis levels in most of the regions where the EBRD invests.
Higher commodity prices, increased demand for manufactured goods, currency depreciation and higher inflation in trading-partner countries have pushed up inflation in the EBRD regions (by an average 0.8 percentage point relative to pre-pandemic levels), despite slack in the labour markets in many economies.
The headline numbers also hide significant differences in the impact of Covid-19 on individuals, with the young and those with lower levels of education and income particularly affected.
Furthermore, fiscal vulnerabilities have increased as large stimulus packages have boosted public debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratios in the EBRD regions, by an average 11 percentage points . In many economies, public debt is now at levels last seen during the transition recession of the early 1990s and may rise further. While bankruptcies have so far remained contained owing to extensive policy support, vulnerabilities may surface when government support measures are withdrawn.
Professor Javorcik added: “The economies in which we invest have made progress on narrowing the digital divide over the past year, although it is still the case that richer households, more educated individuals and those residing in urban areas are more likely to make purchases online. This pattern is stronger in poorer countries.”
While average borrowing costs remain low, on average, and interest payments remain stable, some countries have seen sharp increases in interest payments.
Forecasts are highly sensitive to the path of Covid-19 infection, assumptions as to government policy and the effectiveness of policy actions to limit persistent economic damage. Country-specific policy initiatives underpinning the recovery are summarised in the EBRD’s Coronavirus response in 2021: building back better.

Economy of Uzbekistan is expected to grow by 5.6 per cent in 2021 - EBRD
 

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Discussion Starter · #844 ·
Construction volume in Uzbekistan surges by 100.9%



Construction volume in Uzbekistan surges by 100.9%


Uzbekistan carried out construction works totaling $3.5bn over the past five months of 2021. This is up almost 100.9% than in the corresponding period of 2020.
State-owned organizations have carried out construction works for a total amount of $141mn. Their share in the republic was 4.0 %.
The share of non-state organizations comprised 96.0 %.
The volume of construction works performed by small enterprises and micro-firms amounted to $2.1bn.

https://uzreport.news/economy/construction-volume-in-uzbekistan-surges-by-1009-
 

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Discussion Starter · #845 ·
Uzbekistan to allocate $100mn to support export activities
Uzbekistan to allocate $100mn to support export activities



Uzbekistan is set to allocate $100mn to support export activities. The funds are to be channeled at the request of the Export Promotion Agency for a period of 5 years at a rate of 1%. A corresponding decree was signed by the Uzbek President.

The Government Commission on Foreign Trade, Investment, Development of Local Industry and Technical Regulation has been instructed to ensure the timely and full return of allocated funds, as well as to attract resources from international financial institutions, foreign government financial organizations, domestic commercial banks, foreign banks and financial companies in the amount of $200mn for pre-export financing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #846 ·
Uzbekistan inks cooperation agreement with Alibaba Group


Uzbekistan inks cooperation agreement with Alibaba Group

The Export Promotion Agency of Uzbekistan has signed a cooperation agreement with China’s largest e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
The document provides Uzbek entrepreneurs with unique access to the electronic B2B system and a separate section, thus granting them an opportunity to use the online marketplace. The Export Promotion Agency said it would cover the expenses of entrepreneurs related to registration and membership fees at its own expense.
"A special Made in Uzbekistan section will be created on the Alibaba platform, as a result, the products of domestic enterprises will be seen in more than 190 countries. We will support Uzbek companies in working with the platform, organize special seminars and trainings. Entrepreneurs will also have access to Alibaba's analysis and statistics mechanisms, which will allow them to optimize the capacities of their enterprises," Shohjahon Jumayev, representative of the Ministry of Foreign Trade has told domestic TV channel.
According to him, Uzbek entrepreneurs would be able to analyze the dynamics of sales, determine the most profitable products, plan supply and demand.
"The companies selected for this project will have the Global Golden Supplier status within a year. They will receive it free of charge at the expense of the Export Promotion Agency. Any Uzbek manufacturer exporting goods abroad will be able to take advantage of these opportunities," he added.

Uzbekistan inks cooperation agreement with Alibaba Group
 

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Discussion Starter · #847 ·
Why Investor Jim Rogers Is Poking Around Uzbekistan



Uzbekistan is, (and they would probably hate this), “the other ‘Stan”. It’s finally got a new post-Soviet leader in Shavkat Mirziyoyev. And they’re trying to move at light speed to become a modern economy.

What does Jim Rogers like about it?


“I am a big fan of the new Uzbekistan although it's still largely unknown to people in the west,” he tells me. “It used to be run like a dictatorship but the new government seems to know what they are doing. What they have achieved in the last few years deserves commendation.”

Some of those things include eradicating forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton plantations, privatizing state assets (still in the works) and reforming the judicial system. As a sign to the West that they’re hopping on the global capitalism bandwagon, they debuted their first ever Eurobond in 2019.




“The economy has finally opened up and I am sure international investors will use this opportunity to tap into its growth potential,” Rogers says. “I’ll be watching closely their announced privatization plans and IPOs,” he says, adding that he will be sticking to the Rogers playbook: agriculture, metals and energy.


Rogers doesn’t yet own any Uzbek stocks. Most of them are not liquid.

The New Old World


Uzbekistan is becoming a hot spot these days for a number of reasons: geopolitics – Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of the region of rivalry between the U.S., China and Russia; and new market growth potential now that it is finally starting to open up after 30 years of post-Soviet limbo.


Many successful Uzbeks from Russia, Europe and elsewhere are returning home to start new businesses as the country becomes more friendly to private investment.


Tashkent, the old world capital of Uzbekistan, is also hoping to benefit from some Chinese capital infusion from Beijing’s One Belt One Road plans.

In 2022, the Shanghai Cooperation Summit will be held in Samarkand, a centuries old city on the original Silk Road route between China and the Mediterranean Sea. A new airport terminal is being built and 8 new hotels are being built there, a lot of it with Chinese capital.

Samarkand city's master plan is being developed by a Chinese firm and the city is being positioned as another logistics hub for Central Asia. An eventual railroad is being planned through nearby Kyrgyzstan which will provide Chinese exporters an alternative to the Russian route.


Once the logistics look better, some believe (at least for Europe) that Central Asia can replace Southeast Asia in their supply chains thanks mainly to their proximity and their rich commodity base.


“I think the new government is focused on elevating Uzbekistan’s position in the global and regional supply chain,” Rogers says. “They’re investing in the domestic petrochemical industry using their abundant natural gas resources as feedstock and starting to reform its largely Soviet cotton industry which will eventually become very competitive,” he says. This is especially true if Uzbekistan could somehow capitalize on the current bans on Xinjiang, China sourced cotton in the American apparel industry’s supply chain. Xinjiang is the infamous home to Muslim detention centers, something Beijing considers to be part of its ‘war on terrorism’ and something Washington refers to as ‘genocide’.


“(Uzbekistan’s cotton business) can definitely evolve into a more value-added textile industry with the help of growing foreign direct investment which will bring along the needed technology,” Rogers says.


Back in April, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on his Twitter feed that Uzbekistan was seeing some “commendable growth” in bilateral relations between the two countries, though most of this was political. “Look forward to working together to support reforms and build regional connectivity, including with South Asia,” Blinken said.


Frontier market portfolio investors are not just looking at Uzbekistan. Some are putting money to work already.


“We are invested in Uzbekistan since July 2018 and launched a separate single country fund for the country,” says Peter de Vries, a Hong Kong-based Asia frontier portfolio manager and director at Asia Frontier Investments Limited. “We uundertook a fact finding trip in 2018 and saw the opportunity presented in Uzbekistan.” Their AFC Uzbekistan Fund was launched on March 29, 2019. The 12-month return since inception is around 99.7%. The minimum investment for the fund is $10,000. It is available through AFC and through private banks.

Why Investor Jim Rogers Is Poking Around Uzbekistan
 

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Discussion Starter · #848 ·
Uzbekistan's gold reserves up, FX reserves down



Uzbekistan's gold reserves up, FX reserves down


Uzbekistan’s gross gold and FX reserves as of August 1 amounted to $35.1bn, according to the data unveiled by the Central Bank. This is by $964mn more than it was in July.
The regulator said that the gold price was the main reason for growth. The country has almost $21.5bn worth of gold in its reserves. In July, gold was worth around $1,800 per ounce, now it is below $1,740.
FX reserves dipped from $13.5bn in July to $13.1bn in August.
Uzbekistan considers its reserves as a safety cushion. They are needed as a buffer in case of adverse external shocks, while the sufficiency of reserves directly depends on the nature of these shocks.
The current reserves, according to calculations, would be enough to finance more than 20 months of imports. This is much more than the indicator recommended by international organizations for developing countries, which is three months.

https://uzreport.news/economy/uzbekistans-gold-reserves-up-fx-reserves-down
 

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Discussion Starter · #850 ·
More than 4,000 new construction companies open in Uzbekistan in six months



More than 4,000 new construction companies open in Uzbekistan in six months

Some 44,106 construction companies were registered in Uzbekistan as of the beginning of August. More than 4,000 new construction organizations have opened throughout the country in 1H 2021. The data was unveiled by the country's statistical committee.

More than 4,000 new construction companies open in Uzbekistan in six months
 

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Discussion Starter · #851 ·
Uzbekistan's GDP to hit $100bn in five years


Uzbekistan's GDP to hit $100bn in five years

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during his trip to Navoi region on August 27 said that the country’s economy would expand 1.5 times in the coming years.

- In the next five years, we plan to increase the growth rate of our economy by 1.5 times and bring the GDP to at least $100bn. Thousands of new industrial enterprises of medium and large size will be launched, and the demand for electricity will reach 100bn kilowatt-hours. This is 30bn kilowatt-hours more than it is now," said Mirziyoyev.

He added that in the next five years, 19 projects worth $6.5bn would be launched to create new capacities of 11,500 megawatts. By 2030, the share of renewable sources in electricity generation would exceed 30%. To supply electricity to the regions, 3,000 kilometers of new power transmission lines with a voltage of 500 and 220 kilovolts would be laid.

Uzbekistan's GDP to hit $100bn in five years
 

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Discussion Starter · #852 ·
Uzbek banking regulator keeps main rate unchanged



Uzbek banking regulator keeps main rate unchanged

The Central Bank of Uzbekistan has kept the main rate unchanged at 14% per annum.

According to the regulator, this would help to achieve a balance between reducing inflation to 10% by the end of the year, and simultaneously maintaining economic activity, as well as uncertainties about the degree of their influence.

In January-July, the volume of production of industrial goods expanded by 8.9% compared to the corresponding period last year, and by 6.1% compared to the same period in 2019. In turn, the volume of services provided increased by 20.5% compared to 2020, and by 21.3% compared to 2019.

According to the results of a survey of enterprises in the real sector of the economy, the index of economic activity was 52.8, having formed at a level slightly higher than the July values. At the same time, the indicators of the service sector have significantly improved in the structure of the index.

With the growth of consumer activity of the population in the economy, the volume of trade and paid services also increased.

The volume of exports (excluding gold) over the past seven months amounted to $6.7bn, up 35% y/y. Imports comprised $13.4bn, 19% more than in the same period last year.

The annual inflation rate in August was 11.1%. By September, the annual increase in food prices reached 15.5%.
 

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Discussion Starter · #853 ·
Portfolio of projects with WB reach $5bn in Uzbekistan



Portfolio of projects with WB reach $5bn in Uzbekistan


The current portfolio of joint projects with the participation of the World Bank in Uzbekistan has reached $5bn. The information was announced on September 14 during negotiations between the Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mahtar Diop.
The IFC resumed its activities in Uzbekistan in 2016, the year when Mirziyoyev came to power. The volume of operations of the IFC during this period has tripled and reached $200mn.
Joint projects are currently under way aimed at development of the public-private partnership system, modernisation of transport, transformation of the banking sector, reformation of microfinance institutions, as well as introduction of international standards in the field of textile production and other key areas.
“Uzbekistan is a priority country for IFC. We are proud to support this new era in its economy and will continue helping the nation in implementing key reforms for a green, resilient & inclusive recovery”, said Makhtar Diop.
“It's encouraging to see that reforms in sectors like banking, is paving the way for innovations, businesses & services to thrive”, he added.

Portfolio of projects with WB reach $5bn in Uzbekistan
 

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Discussion Starter · #854 ·
Uzbek banks to sell gold coins to foreigners online



Uzbek banks to sell gold coins to foreigners online


Uzbekistan’s banking regulator has adopted a resolution approving the regulations on the procedure for the manufacture, sale and repurchase of commemorative banknotes. It allows foreigners to buy commemorative coins online even when they are outside of Uzbekistan.
Interactive sections for the online sale of coins are set to appear on the websites of banks.
The website will display the equivalent price in a foreign currency, taking into account the exchange rate and the cost of delivery.
Upon receipt of a payment from a foreign buyer to the bank account, commemorative coins will be sent to the new owner by mail.
At the time of publication, four types of gold coins were available in banks, their price vary from UZS 9.5mn ($889) to UZS 19.6mn ($1,836).
Silver coins were worth UZS 491,000 ($45.99). Souvenir sets consisting of five gold coins weighing 20 and 31.1 grams cost UZS 63mn ($5,901) and UZS 98mn ($9,180), respectively.

Uzbek banks to sell gold coins to foreigners online
 

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Discussion Starter · #855 ·
ADB raises Uzbekistan growth projections for 2021 and 2022



ADB raises Uzbekistan growth projections for 2021 and 2022

Uzbekistan’s economy is expected to grow by 5.0% this year and by 5.5% next year assuming a smooth coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine rollout and the rapid recovery for industry, services, investment, and private consumption continues, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report on September 23.

The organisation’s flagship annual economic publication, noted the country’s 6.2% growth in the first half of 2021 as industry rebounded strongly from a decline last year thanks to increases in manufacturing, mining, and quarrying. Growth in services accelerated to 8% thanks to gains in trade, transport, and storage.

“A smooth implementation of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program will be vital to protect the people of Uzbekistan, restore confidence, and underpin the promising growth we saw in the first half of this year,” said ADB Country Director for Uzbekistan Cindy Malvicini. “ADB remains fully committed to helping Uzbekistan overcome the pandemic and maintaining sustainable economic growth.”

Inflation slowed in the first half of 2021 to 10.9% from 13.9% last year. Improved food production helped to slow the rise in food prices while tariffs for electricity and gas remained unchanged. With continuing tight monetary policy and energy tariffs unlikely to change, ADB maintained its 10% and 9% inflation forecasts for 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The current account deficit widened in the first half of 2021 on rising imports of capital and intermediate goods and transport services.

ADB raises Uzbekistan growth projections for 2021 and 2022
 

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Discussion Starter · #856 ·
World Bank’s investment portfolio in Uzbekistan worth $4.8bn



World Bank’s investment portfolio in Uzbekistan worth $4.8bn

World Bank’s (WB) investment portfolio in Uzbekistan includes 26 projects with a total value of $4.8bn. The data was unveiled during negotiations between Uzbek Preisent Shavkat Mirziyoyev and WB Vice President Anna Bjerde on September 30.

Since May of this year, WB approved the provision of preferential loans in the amount of $540mn for the implementation of projects for the development of medium-sized cities, modernisation of the power sector, and the improvement of tax administration.

The parties considered the results of joint work on the preparation of methodological foundations for the fight against poverty, support of private sector investment projects, promotion of the reform of SOEs and the development of solar energy.

Vice President Anna Bjerde highly praised the progress of the ongoing reforms in the New Uzbekistan, which, according to her, have become irreversible.

She extended WB's readiness to expand support towards reforms aimed at improving the level and quality of life of the population in the country.

An agreement was reached on the preparation and adoption of a new five-year country cooperation program.

https://uzreport.news/finance/world-bank-s-investment-portfolio-in-uzbekistan-worth-48bn
 

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Discussion Starter · #857 ·
Fitch affirms Uzbekistan’s IDR at 'BB-' with a stable outlook



Fitch affirms Uzbekistan’s IDR at 'BB-' with a stable outlook


Fitch Ratings has affirmed Uzbekistan's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB-' with a stable outlook.
Fitch said it was expecting the Uzbek economy to expand by 6.2% in 2021 adding that the growth would maintain strong momentum, averaging 5.7% in 2022-2023 supported by a gradual pace of fiscal consolidation, strong investment, continued access to external financing and reforms positively impacting agriculture, construction and industrial production.
The same forecast was earlier unveiled by the World Bank’s Autumn Europe and Central Asia Economic Update.
Fitch forecasts that Uzbekistan's overall fiscal deficit would increase to 5.2% of GDP in 2021, slightly below the government's 5.5% target and the 'BB' median forecast of 5.7%.
“Our 2021 forecast incorporates a moderate increase in the consolidated budget deficit to 3.4% of GDP, up from 2.8% in 2020, but below the government projection of 3.7%”, the agency said.
It also forecasts a gradual fiscal consolidation with the overall deficit reaching 4.3% of GDP in 2022 and 3.8% in 2023, as authorities continue to emphasise spending on investment, health and education.
Government debt is set to rise to 42% of GDP in 2021, from 37% in 2020. Fitch projects debt to reach 44% of GDP in 2023, still below the 59% 'BB' median forecast, but more than double its 2018 level of 20%.
The rating agency added that Uzbekistan’s current account deficit would remain wider than peers (6.5% of GDP in 2021 and average 5.7% in 2022-2023), driven by strong domestic demand, but continued external financing availability, FDI inflows and relative stability in gold prices (62% of international reserves) would prevent significant erosion of reserves.
Fitch added that it was expecting the Central Bank of Uzbekistan to maintain positive real rates, as part of its transition to inflation targeting. The inflation is projected to decline to 9.8% by end-2021.

https://uzreport.news/finance/fitch-affirms-uzbekistan-s-idr-at-bb-with-a-stable-outlook
 

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Discussion Starter · #858 ·
Uzbekistan improves its position in Rule of Law Index 2021



Uzbekistan improves its position in Rule of Law Index 2021


Uzbekistan ranked 85 out of 139 countries on rule of law, rising fourteen positions, according to the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2021.
Uzbekistan’s overall rule of law score increased 4.1%. Uzbekistan’s score places it at 10 out of 14 countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and 11 out of 35 among lower-middle income countries.
Significant trends for Uzbekistan included improvements in the factors measuring Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, and Open Government.
Regionally, Eastern Europe and Central Asia’s top performer in the Index is Georgia, followed by Kosovo and North Macedonia. The three countries with the lowest scores in the region were Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, and Turkey.
In the last year, 8 out of 14 countries declined in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Of those 8 countries, 5 had also declined in the previous year.

https://uzreport.news/politics/uzbekistan-improves-its-position-in-rule-of-law-index-2021
 

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Discussion Starter · #859 ·
Uzbekistan's FX reserves decline to $34.4bn



Uzbekistan's FX reserves decline to $34.4bn

Uzbekistan's gross FX reserves as of October 1 amounted to $34.41bn, according to data put out by the central bank. Compared to September, the figure declined by $1.02bn.

Half of the losses were accounted for by gold. During the month, its quantity increased by 200,000 thousand troy ounces, but the total value fell by $528mn. As of October 1 gold price stood at $1,760. However, at the time of publication, its price had already risen to $ 1,775.

Uzbekistan’s gold reserves were estimated at $21.345bn (12.3mn troy ounces or 382.6 tonnes).
 

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Discussion Starter · #860 ·
Uzbek government to allocate over $6.5 bln for education, medicine



Uzbek government to allocate over $6.5 bln for education, medicine


Uzbek government plans to allocate up to $6.5 billion for human capital, in particular- education and medicine. This was discussed on agenda of the meeting on tax revenues and parameters of the 2022 budget. "Elevation of human dignity and improvement of people's lives were determined as the main goal in our country and these principles should be the main criteria while forming the budget"- the head of state Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
In 2022, $752 million will be allocated to develop primary healthcare and introduce high-tech medical services in the regions. Corresponding allocations will be made to organize vaccination against coronavirus and bring the number of vaccinated people up to 17 million.
Moreover, $2.5 billion to be allocated for the construction of housing and social facilities, as well as the improvement of mahallas. It is planned to open 1,600 kindergartens in remote areas, build 40 new schools and renovate 235 schools, update school textbooks and create 2,000 computer labs.
In addition, the head of the state stressed the necessity to discuss the draft budget with local councils, businessmen, and the population and to submit their proposals for discussion to the Oliy Majlis.

https://uzreport.news/finance/uzbek-government-to-allocate-over-65-bln-for-education-medicine
 
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