BAKU, July 12 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s foreign currency reserves rose by $3 billion in the first half of 2017 to $40.6 billion, President Ilham Aliyev told the government meeting on Wednesday.
Azerbaijan, an energy-rich ex-Soviet republic, has seen its economy shrinking and its currency weakening as oil prices have fallen.
The country’s biggest lender, state-run International Bank of Azerbaijan, has recently launched a restructuring of more than $3 billion of its debt.
Another state company, Azerbaijan Railways, or ADY, has said it wants to explore options for the possible refinancing of some of its liabilities.
“Despite a fall in oil prices, we managed to boost our currency reserves by $3 billion to $40.6 billion, which is a result of a correct economic policy,” Aliyev was quoted by the state news agency Azertag.
He said that the non-oil sector grew by 1.7 percent year-on-year in the six months of 2017, while non-oil industry grew by 4.4 percent and the amount of investment totalled $5 billion.
“The biggest part of investment came from foreign investors and we are confident that foreign investors’ interest will be growing,” Aliyev said.
The president said exports rose by 36 percent and import reduced by 15 percent in the first half of this year, resulting in trade surplus of $1.9 billion. (Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; writing by Margarita Antidze; editing by)