Azerbaijan appoints banker Kazimov as central bank governor


April 13 (Reuters) – Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday appointed Taleh Kazimov, chairman of private bank PASHA, as central bank governor as the energy-rich former Soviet state faces pressure growing inflationary.

Kazimov’s appointment comes a day after lawmakers voted to sack Elman Rustamov, 69, who was head of the central bank of Azerbaijan, the third-largest ex-Soviet oil producer after Russia and Kazakhstan. , since 1995.

The statement on the central bank’s website announcing Kazimov’s appointment on Wednesday did not provide reasons for the governor change, citing only Aliyev’s order.

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Rustamov, who began working as an economist in the final years of the Soviet Union, steered the central bank through a number of crises, including a 2015 manat devaluation triggered by a drop in global energy prices. .

He introduced a floating monetary regime in manats to try to preserve foreign exchange reserves, after a similar move by Russia’s central bank amid Western sanctions imposed on Moscow after Crimea was annexed by Ukraine in 2014.

Rustamov also oversaw a $3 billion debt restructuring of Azerbaijan’s main lender, the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), with a majority of liabilities held by foreign investors, after a slump in oil prices l left with bad debts.

Azerbaijan’s central bank last month raised its refinancing rate by 0.25 percentage point to 7.75%, and analysts expect a much bigger hike in key rates at its board meeting. administration on April 29, the same day as the Russian central bank.

Citing March annual inflation at 12.1%, well above the central bank’s target corridor of 4% with a gap of 2 percentage points, Gazprombank analysts said in a note that they are s were expecting a rise in key rates of no less than 100 basis points.

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Reuters reporting; Editing by Alexander Smith

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