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Moody's revises Azerbaijan ratings outlook to positive

Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday revised the outlook on Azerbaijan's "Ba1" ratings to positive from stable, citing improvements in the Caucasus country's finances due to rising oil prices and prudent management of revenues.

The change reflected the rapid accumulation of financial assets by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), whose assets grew by $8 billion to $23 billion between the end of 2009 and the end of 2010, Moody's said. The central bank's foreign reserves also increased by $1.6 billion to $7 billion.

The government registered a fiscal surplus of 14 percent of GDP in its consolidated budget, while the current account surplus totaled 30 percent of GDP in 2010.

Ongoing government efforts to invest in the non-oil sector helped improve the rating outlook as well, Moody's said.

"The government actively supports the private sector with its Enterprise Fund, which invested $125 million in over 100 companies in 2010," the agency said in a statement.

Source: Reuters

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