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Govt May Halve Economic Growth Forecast
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Feb.'15 / 22:28

Georgian economy is expected to grow 2-2.5% in 2015 instead of initially forecasted 5%, Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on Sunday.

“I think real economic growth should be expected within about 2-2.5% in 2015,” Kvirikashvili, who is also deputy prime minister, told Rustavi 2 TV.

PM Irakli Garibashvili said on Saturday that the government intends to revise downward existing 5% economic growth forecast amid depreciation of national currency lari and “very difficult situation” in the region. He also said that government is also considering cutting administrative spending.

Economy Minister Kvirikashvili declined at this stage to discuss specifics of planned administrative spending cut; he said that the issue is being discussed within the government. In separate remarks also on Sunday, Kvirikashvili told Imedi TV that a detailed plan will be presented this week.

Georgia’s economy grew 4.7% last year, short of government’s 5% forecast, according to preliminary data. Preliminary figures for January, 2015 growth will be released on February 27.

The Georgian currency lari (GEL) further fell to 2.1771 on Friday per U.S. dollar from 2.1472 a day earlier.

Since early November, when GEL started depreciation, the Georgian currency lost 24.1% of its value against U.S. dollar and 11.9 % against euro.

Annual inflation stood at 1.4% in January, below central bank’s target of 5%.

Georgian exports continued downward trend in January, declining 30% year-on-year. The government has attributed decline mainly to decreasing exports to Russia and Ukraine.

Remittances also continued declining in January to USD 75.5 million, down by 23.3% compared to the same period of last year, caused by falling transfers from Russia.

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