• In August 2015, domestic production in Georgia increased by 2.3% annually – a figure that is expected to retain stability around this year’s overall trend.
• Consumer price inflation reached its highest value in two years (5.4%). The August 2015 increase in electricity tariffs and the growing number of tourist arrivals put additional upward pressure on consumer price inflation.
• Georgia’s main economic indicators show remarkable resilience, especially in light of the economic pressures from neighboring countries.
• Between July and August, the value of the Georgian lari against the dollar fell once more. In spite of this, the national currency remains relatively stable against the basket of Georgia’s trading partner currencies.
• Export growth continued to decline in annual terms, but there are signs that export patterns have recently been shifting. Georgian companies are looking for new trading partners in Europe and beyond.
• Bulgaria became Georgia’s fastest growing export destination for the second consecutive month.
The Georgian wine industry had a couple of very good years in 2013 and 2014, following the opening of the Russian market. Exports skyrocketed, prices of grapes followed suit. For all the talk about diversification, within just two years, Russia’s share in the total exports of Georgian wine shot up from 0 to almost 68%.
According to Geostat’s rapid estimates for August, Georgia’s real GDP increased by 2.3% annually. The average real GDP growth rate in the first eight months of 2015 was 2.8%. In the context of the slowdown of both regional and global growth, such low rates are to be expected. On the positive side, both the August estimate and the average annual growth in 2015 remain above the official IMF forecasts (of 2%), and August saw the fifth-highest growth rate value since the beginning of the year.
Among the related indicators closely tracking monthly production changes, VAT payer’s turnover increased by 7.4% in August, while electricity consumption decreased by 2.7%. The fall in the total consumption of electricity was due to the rollout of new tariffs instituted on 1 August in the regions of Georgia. The tariffs increased the average price of electricity for consumers by 25-35% per kWh. In the coming months, total electricity consumption is expected to decline even further as on 5 September the new tariffs reach Tbilisi, which is home to more than a third of the country’s total population.