Geostat has updated its GDP growth estimate for the third quarter of 2020. The Q3 growth rate stands at -3.8%. As a result, the real GDP growth estimate for the first nine months of 2020 is -5%. As a result of the update, the growth forecast for Q4 of 2020 was revised to -3.3%. ISET-PI’s first forecast for Q1 of 2021 puts GDP growth at -1.4%.
As the Georgian Lari (GEL) briefly depreciated in September 2020, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) once again became the subject of criticism for not being able to stabilize the exchange rate even though it had injected 120 million US$ into the economy. At a press conference (2020/09/16), the President of the NBG objected that the aim of the injection of US$ was not to strengthen the GEL since the NBG operated under a floating exchange rate policy. Rather, he went on to explain, the NBG’s constitutional duty was to ensure price stability on the basis of an inflation-targeting framework.
High and rising levels of foreign currency indebtedness have been an important topic in Georgia over the past several years. To address this issue and protect borrowers from currency risks, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG), as well as the Georgian Government have implemented regulations to hinder excess indebtedness. Let’s have a look at the timeline (Figure 1) of recent lending regulations and the accompanying monetary policy measures and observe their impact on changing lending patterns in the Georgian economy.
In the last two weeks, the lari depreciated, once again, against the US dollar. Georgian currency lost about eight tetri against its American counterpart, causing quite a stir in the media, among political groups and economic experts. While government authorities claimed that the recent developments are short-term fluctuations driven by negative expectations, Turkish lira depreciation, dollar’s global strengthening, and are therefore not connected to the fundamentals of the Georgian economy, the members of the opposition were quick to blame incompetent fiscal and monetary policy.
On Wednesday, January 23, ISET hosted the Governor of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG), Mr. Koba Gvenetadze. Mr. Gvenetadze delivered a profoundly informative lecture about the importance of monetary policies for economic well-being, discussing issues such as the importance of the price stability objective, inflation targeting frameworks (specifically why it is so crucial to avoid both deflation and high inflation), and the efficiency of monetary policy transmission mechanisms under a flexible exchange rate.