The first month of 2018 has brought positive tendencies for Georgia economy. After the 2015-2016 slowdown, the year of 2017 started with growing indicators and these positive trends were especially enhanced in January 2018.
In the reporting month Georgia’s foreign trade turnover constituted 816.6 million USD (excluding undeclared trading), up 20.2% year on year, including exports marked 222.7 million USD (+26%), and imports constituted 539.9 million USD (+18.2%). Georgia’s negative trade balance in January 2018 made up 371.2 million USD, 45.5% in foreign trade turnover. In the same period, exports without re-exports marked 167.5 million USD, up 16.8% year on year.
It should be noted that the January 2018 exports of 222.7 million USD is the best indicator over the past 6 years. In the reporting period copper ores and concentrates ranked first in Georgia’s exports items and totaled 34.1 million USD, 15.3% in total exports. Ferroalloys exports constituted 27.3 million USD, 12.3% in total exports. Motorcars ranked third with 15.7 million USD, 0.7% in total exports. In January 2018 wine, gold, oil products, medications, mineral waters and other items were also recorded in Georgia’s ten top exports products.
Money transfers in the reporting period made up 110 million USD, 280.3 million GEL, up 31.1% (+26.1million USD) as compared to January 2017. Ratio of 12 major donor countries in Georgia’s total money transfers accounts for 90.4%. Money transfers from each of these countries exceeded 1 million USD. The ratio was 90.8% in January 2017. In the reporting period, 15 million USD was transferred from Georgia abroad (38.2 million GEL), while the figure made up 13.3 million USD (36.1 million GEL) in January 2017.
As to tourism sector, in January 2018, international visitors inflow rose by 14.8%, tourist inflows rose by 23%. In the reporting month, 444 421 international tourists visited the country, up 14.8% year on year. Total number of tourists, who stayed in the country for more than 24 hours made up 189 476, up 23% year on year.
Major number of tourists was recorded from Azerbaijan (+0.8%), Turkey (+20.1%), Armenia (+20.1%), Russia (+14.6%) and Iran (+92.4%). Positive trends are maintained from EU countries: Czech Republic (+59%), Latvia (+46%), United Kingdom (+31%), Netherlands (+28%), Lithuania (+16%).
Tourist inflows particularly increased from Kuwait (+131%), Saudi Arabia (+127%), Iran (+92%), Israel (+77%), India (+48%) and Turkey (+20%). National Tourism Administration says that the current year will bring record indicators in various directions. Georgia is expected to host more than 8 million tourists in 2018 and revenues are expected to exceed 3 billion USD.
These indicators prove that the current year has started with positive tendencies. GDP growth indicators for January have not been published yet by Geostat. Therefore, effect of these indicators on economic growth will be clarified later. It should be noted that in 2018 government of Georgia expects 4.5% upturn in Georgian economy and the state budget was planned at this indicator. As a rule, the month of January, February and the first quarter of a year demonstrate positive tendencies in our economy. The time will show whether Georgian government manages to maintain these positive tendencies. Anyway, the start encourages all of us.