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The Week in the Neighborhood

Weekly
BM. GE
13.08.23 19:38
1

Azerbaijan discusses launching satellites into orbit with Elon Musk. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will attend the Inmerge Innovation Summit in Baku. Armenia has asked the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting regarding the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Azerbaijan's mostly Armenian-populated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Four Turkish defense firms were listed among world's top 100. Defense project deals worth $2.09B sealed at 16th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) held in Turkey.

Here is a rundown of the latest economic, business and political developments around Georgia's neighboring Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia during the last week.

Azerbaijan

Minister of Digital Development and Communications of Azerbaijan Rashad Nabiyev met with the founder of the Tesla company Elon Musk at the Giga-Texas plant in Austin. "We exchanged views on the planned operation of the Starlink satellite Internet service in our country this year, the launch of satellites belonging to Azerbaijan, as well as on the International Astronautical Congress to be held in Baku in October this year," the minister wrote his Facebook.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will attend the Immerge Innovation Summit in Baku. At this summit, Wozniak will deliver a speech at the opening ceremony session. The event Immerge Innovation Summit Baku will be held on November 30 - December 1 at the Baku Congress Center. It will be attended by heads of international organizations, as well as speakers of large companies in Azerbaijan. Stephen Gary Wozniak also known by his nickname "Woz", is an American technology entrepreneur, electronics engineer, computer scientist, computer programmer, philanthropist, and inventor. In 1976, he co-founded Apple Computer with his late business partner Steve Jobs, which later became the world's largest technology company by revenue and the largest company in the world by market capitalization.

Azerbaijan's GDP made 70,372.2 billion manats ($41.4 billion) in January-July of this year, up 0.7% year-on-year. Over the past year, value added in the oil and gas sector of the economy fell 2.2%, while in the non-oil-gas sector, it increased by 3.4%. Industry accounted for 42.8% of GDP production, trade; repair of vehicles accounted for 9.4%, transport and storage made 6.1%, construction made 4.9%, agriculture, forestry and fisheries made 6%, tourist accommodation and catering made 2.3%, information and communication made 1.6%, and other spheres made 17.7%. Net taxes on products and imports made 9.2% of GDP. During the past year, the country's GDP per capita dropped 5.9%, to 6,939 manats ($2,081.76).

Investment in fixed capital in Azerbaijan amounted to 9,114.9 million manats ($5.36 billion) in January-July 2023, marking a 20.8% growth. Over the past year, investments in the oil-and-gas sector increased by 15%, and in the non-oil-and-gas sector surged by 24.3%. During the reporting period, 5,045 million manats ($2.97 billion), or 55.3%, were made in production, 3,600.5 million manats ($2.12 billion), or 39.5%, in services, 469.4 million manats ($276.2 million), or 5.2%, in housing construction.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Azerbaijan increased by 12.2 percent from January through July 2023, compared to the previous year. The consumer price index stood at 12.7 percent at the end of June. Food, beverages and tobacco prices went up by 14.3 percent over the year, while non-food products – by 11 percent. Meanwhile, paid services rendered to the population rose by 10.4 percent. The country’s CPI in July 2023 decreased by 0.7 percent compared to the previous month and increased by 9.4 percent year-on-year.

As of July 1, 2023, the number of hired workers in Azerbaijan's economy reached 1,725,500 people (+5,500 people or 0.3%), with 894,200 employed in the public sector and 831,300 in the private sector, the State Statistical Committee said. In the months of January-June of this year, the average monthly nominal salary of hired workers in the economy of Azerbaijan increased by 11.5% compared to the same period last year and amounted to 921.9 manats ($542.29).

Armenia

Armenia has asked the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting regarding the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Azerbaijan's mostly Armenian-populated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In his August 11 letter to the president of the Security Council, Armenian UN Ambassador Mher Margarian said the people of Nagorno-Karabakh are “on the verge of a full-fledged humanitarian catastrophe.” Both Armenia and separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have said that Azerbaijan has blockaded Nagorno-Karabakh since December, resulting in shortages of food, medicines, and energy.

Armenia's foreign trade grew by 72.9% in January-June 2023 compared to the same period of 2022 to about $8.9 billion. In June 2023 alone, the foreign trade grew by about $1.5 billion, having increased by 21% compared to June 2022 and decreased by 9.9% compared to May 2023. Foreign trade turnover with CIS countries amounted to about $3.3 billion, increasing by 83.8% compared to the same period last year. Armenia's largest foreign trade partners in the CIS were Russia-about $3.1 b billion, up 87.3% compared to six months of 2022, Belarus -$92.7 million, up 59.5% and Ukraine -$46.2 million, up 23.2%. Armenia's foreign trade with the EU countries amounted to over $1.4 billion with a 44.1% growth. The top five largest trade partners were Germany - about $348.6 million, up 81.4%, the Netherlands -over $205.6 million, up 46.9%, Italy -about $200 million, up 41%, Poland - $110.2 million, up 3.1 times and France -$80.4 million, up 71.4%.

About 9 million tons of various goods were transported in Armenia in the first six months of 2023, 7.3% rise compared to the same period of time in 2022, while the number of transported passenger surged by 23.4% to about 87.7 million. During the period under review, about 6.5 million tons of cargo were transported by trucks, by 14.2% more than in January-June 2022. About 1.4 million tons of cargo were transported by rail transport (8.2% rise), more than one million tons were transported by trunk pipeline transport (67.4% drop) and the cargo transported by air almost doubled to 15, 2000 tons.

Over 4.2 billion kWh of electricity were generated in Armenia in the first six months of 2023, which is 2.7% less than in the same period of 2022.  Thermal power plants accounted for 49.1% of the production generating about 1.9 billion kWh, a decline of 6.8% yoy. The share of HPPs, which produced 915.8 mln kWh, declined by 18.5% to 23.4% of the total, and the share of Armenian nuclear power plant which produced about 1.3 bln kWh, grew by 12.9% to 22.6%. Solar power plants, which accounted for 4.9% of the total, produced 181.4 million kWh of electricity during the reporting period, up 79.9%, and wind farms produced 1.2 million kWh (up 4.1%).

Armenia's domestic trade upped 23.6% in the first six months of 2023 from the same time span of 2022 to about 2 trillion 281 billion drams ($6 billion). The retail trade amounted to about 771 billion drams ($2 billion), up 5.2% from the first six months of 2022. The wholesale trade grew by 34.2 % to about 1.4 trillion drams ($3.6 billion). Sales of vehicles raised about 116 billion drams ($300 million) growing by 61.5% year-on-year.

Armenia’s construction sector grew by 17% in the first six months of 2023 from the first six months of 2022 to over 174.1 billion drams (in current prices) or US$ 452 million. In June 2023 alone, the sector surged by 18.1% as opposed to June 2022 to over 43.1 billion drams (US$ 112 million). Over 26.7 billion drams (US$ 69.3 million) worth construction was financed by the government, down 28.5% from the first six months of 2022.

Armenia and Iran signed on Thursday a document to extend the Natural Gas for Electricity agreement until 2030. Under the revised agreement Iran will increase exports of natural gas to Armenia while Armenia will increase exports of electricity to Iran.

Armenia's industrial output in the first six months of 2023 amounted to about 1.2 trillion drams ($3.1 billion) in current prices, an increase of 1% compared to the same months of 2022, according to the National Statistical Committee (NSC). The industrial output in June alone amounted to about 215 billion drams ($556 million), a 7.4% drop against June 2022 and a 2.8% rise from May l 2023.

Turkey

Four Turkish defense magnates made it to the top 100 defense firms list published by the U.S.-based Defense News Magazine on Monday. Turkey's Aselsan was at 47th place in the annual ranking, up from 49th last year, said the outlet that describes itself as "the authoritative, independent, professional news source for the world’s defense decision-makers.” Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) was at 58, up from 67, while missile producer Roketsan climbed to 80th place from 86th. The Military Factory and Shipyard Management Inc. (Asfat) also entered the list for the first time and took the 100th spot. Aselsan's defense revenues totaled $2 billion in 2022, while TAI's revenues amounted to $1.48 billion, Roketsan's $873.3 million, and Asfat's $443.5 million.

Project value of the contracts signed during the 16th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) 2023 is TL 56.5 billion ($2.09 billion), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. He said a total of 1,461 companies, both local and foreign, were represented at the fair. IDEF'23 broke its own record in terms of the number of signed agreements, Erdoğan said, adding: “I believe we will achieve our defense export target of $6 billion at the end of the year, with the contribution of the highly successful IDEF'23." The country achieved a record export value of $2.37 billion in the first six months of this year.

A Turkish energy holding, BGN Energy Holding SA, has bought 19.97% of the Canada-based energy firm Mediterra Energy Corporation (MEC). The Turkish holding became the second-largest shareholder in the company. MEC is conducting development and production activities in Egypt within the framework of the Comombo Concession Agreement and an Exploration and Production Services Contract for the Sudr, Matarma and Asl (SMA) fields, in which it holds a 100% stake. The company also has a 40% stake in two other exploration fields. According to an independent assessment report, the SMA fields contain more than 100 million barrels of recoverable oil reserves belonging to MEC.

Turkey's retail sales volume was up by 28.5% in June on an annual basis, the country's statistical department said. According to TurkStat data, retail sales rose by 26.6% for food, drinks and tobacco, 32% for non-food, and 19.4% for automotive fuel. Under non-food, computers, books and telecommunication equipment sales increased by 52.3%, electronic goods and furniture rose by 32.9%, and textile, clothing and footwear sales were up by 19.9%.

Turkey's total turnover index was up by 53.4% in June on a yearly basis. The turnover index rose 42.5% in the industry, 74% in construction, 58.3% in the trade, and 55.8% in the services sector year-on-year in June. On a monthly basis, the index was up by 5.9% in June. At the detail of the total turnover index; industry increased by 10.7%, construction increased by 3.0%, trade increased by 4.2%, and services increased by 3.3% on a monthly basis in June 2023.

Turkey’s unemployment rate was at 9.6% in June, up by 0.1 percentage point from May. The number of unemployed people, aged 15 or more, rose by 2,000 to 3.3 million in June on a monthly basis. The unemployment rate was at 7.8% for men and 13.2% for women. The employment rate came in at 47.8% in June, down by 0.6 percentage point month-on-month.

The World Directory of Modern Military Warships (WDMMW) ranked Turkey’s navy 10th in the most recent global assessment to determine the strongest navies across 36 nations. The evaluation criteria included the number of warships and submarines, as well as aspects such as fleet age, logistical support, and offensive and defensive capabilities. Furthermore, the ranking considered the overall balance of each navy, analyzing the variety of asset types they possessed and whether they focused their resources in specific areas. The assessment encompassed most ships while excluding smaller craft, survey ships, and historical ceremonial vessels.