Turkmenistan overview

In Turkmenistan we focus on:

Supporting private sector development. Turkmenistan’s economy continues to be characterised by pervasive state intervention and state ownership. Although the number of private entrepreneurs and companies is growing, the private sector remains small and closely regulated by the state. In response to these broad reform challenges, during the next Strategy period the Bank will continue to focus its activities in Turkmenistan on supporting private sector development, both directly and indirectly via local partner banks. The EBRD will provide financing to privately-owned companies outside the oil and gas sectors, focusing on food processing and distribution, logistics, transport services, packaging, furniture, and hospitality. To support the development of effective and sustainable financial intermediation to the private sector, the EBRD will prioritise strengthening the financial sector to enable it to fund the economy by introducing market-oriented principles, and will launch a new banking framework agreement with existing and potentially new partner banks to channel funds to private sector MSME clients.

Promoting international integration. To support enhanced integration of Turkmenistan’s economy into the global economy, the EBRD will seek opportunities to attract much-needed FDI by investing alongside foreign strategic investors, and will promote cross-border trade through the Trade Facilitation Programme with eligible partner banks. The EBRD may consider supporting regional transport operations, particularly for projects with a sound business rationale and which are integrated into the CAREC transport corridors or the EU-TRACECA programme.

Laying the foundations for future reforms. In some sectors, particularly energy efficiency, power and municipal services, reforms have been insufficient to enable the EBRD to engage fully. The EBRD will therefore limit its activities in these areas to selective and targeted policy dialogue, as requested by the authorities, to promote the adoption of reforms leading to market-based solutions to the challenges in these sectors.

The EBRD’s latest Turkmenistan strategy was adopted on 10 July 2019

Current EBRD forecast for Turkmenistan Real GDP Growth in 2019 6.3%

Current EBRD forecast for Turkmenistan Real GDP Growth in 2020 6.0%

Economic growth slowed marginally to 6.2 per cent in 2018 from 6.5 per cent in 2017, according to official figures. Fixed investment continued to contract (by 22 per cent year-on-year) as public spending decreased. Higher gas demand from China enabled strong growth of exports (by 49.6 per cent year-on-year in US dollar terms). In contrast, registered imports declined by 47.8 per cent. However, foreign exchange scarcity has remained severe.

The depreciation of the parallel market exchange rate to 18-19 manats per US dollar by April 2019 (while the official rate is 3.5 manats) exerts strong pressure on prices of imported goods. Officially reported inflation fell to 7.25 per cent in December 2018 from 10.4 per cent a year earlier despite the removal of subsidies and increases in public sector wages and pensions; unrecorded inflation is believed to be substantially higher.

The resumption of gas exports to Russia following a three-year interruption is expected to improve growth prospects. However, in the short term, growth will be weighed down by fiscal restraint, restricted access to foreign exchange except for priority projects, a difficult business environment and limited FDI inflows. Real GDP growth is projected at 6.3 per cent in 2019 and 6.0 per cent in 2020, provided the external demand for gas remains favourable. The forecast risk is high due partly to the difficult access to reliable data.