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IMF Warns Of Slow Growth In Central Asia, Caucasus

Workers in Kazakhstan do maintenance on an oil well. Low oil prices have brought sluggish growth and recession to the Caucasus and Central Asian economies.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of weak prospects for economic growth in Central Asia and the Caucasus region and has called for reforms to help post-Soviet economies.

The IMF forecast in a report released on October 21 that economic growth in the two regions this year will be just 1.3 percent.

The estimate is the lowest for the areas since 1998.

The report said the slowdown is mainly because of low commodity prices that are hurting energy exporting countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Those economies are expected to grow at an overall rate of 1 percent in 2016.

Weak growth by key economic partners Russia and China is also a primary factor for the low forecast for countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The outlook is brighter for Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, whose economies are forecast to grow at a 3.7 percent clilp this year, the same as in 2015.

The IMF has called in the report for bold monetary, financial, and structural reforms in the region's countries to help spur growth.

The IMF is predicting a growth rate for the two regions to be 2.6 percent in 2017.

Based on reporting by AP and