COVID-19 pandemic slows growth only temporarily
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the economy in Uzbekistan grew by 1.6% in 2020. In sectoral terms, agriculture showed the greatest growth momentum with 3%. Government consumption also increased, while investments declined. For 2021, significantly higher growth of around 5% is forecast, which is roughly at pre-crisis levels.
The inflation rate has decreased to 11% in 2020 and is expected to drop below 10% in 2021. The Sum depreciated by 8.5% against the US dollar in 2020. This is in line with the still relatively high inflation. At the same time, foreign exchange reserves have continued to increase. At USD 32.9 bn, they now correspond to about 14 months of import cover – a very high value. The current account deficit is expected to be below 6.4% of GDP. Foreign trade has fallen by 6% on the export side and 9% on the import side, with higher gold exports partly offsetting the decline in exports of other goods. The fiscal deficit rose to a high 7.5% of GDP in 2020 due to the pandemic, but is not threatening fiscal sustainability.
Overall, Uzbekistan got through the crisis well in 2020 and is expected to continue on its reform and growth path in 2021.