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Azeri GDP to Grow Almost 9% in 2011, Excluding Energy, IMF Says

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Azerbaijan’s economy, excluding energy production, may expand by almost 9 percent in 2011, up from last year’s 7.5 percent, said Nadeem Ilahi, who heads the International Monetary Fund’s mission to the country.

Growth without the effect of oil and gas output may slow to 6 percent in 2012, Ilahi told reporters today in Baku, the former Soviet republic’s capital. Inflation will reach about 8 percent by year-end, he added.

Azerbaijan’s economy as a whole may grow 0.9 percent this year and 5.7 percent in 2012, the Finance Ministry estimated last month. The Caspian Sea nation pumped 35.5 million metric tons of oil in the first nine months, down 7.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the State Statistics Committee. Gas production fell 2.6 percent to 19.4 billion cubic meters.

Oil and gas output should remain approximately the same during the next decade, after which it will start to decline, Ilahi said. Azerbaijan’s key goals are achieving a low level of inflation, maintaining financial stability and diversifying the economy away from energy revenue, he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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