TBC Bank’s operations are focused on the Georgian Banking market with 99.6% of its total assets based in Georgia.
Georgia is situated at the strategically important crossroads where Europe meets Asia. The country has a long track record of resilient economic performance and a well-diversified economy. 2016 marked another transparent and democratic election with ruling party remaining in power. Continuity of economic and institutional reforms further enhances predictability of the operating environment in Georgia. Economic growth, estimated at around 2.5%, remained low by Georgian standards, however better diversified economy and gradual recovery in external inflows allowed Georgia to perform relatively better than regional peers. In 2016 Georgia finalized FTA talks with China which represents significant addition to already existing FTAs with major economic players in the region. EU parliament approved decision to grant Georgian citizens Visa free entrance in Schengen countries, which marks significant milestone in EU-Georgia relations. After finalizing technicalities, Georgian citizens will be able to enter Schengen countries in the first half of 2017, this will enable Georgia to better utilize significant export potential offered by FTA with EU. Georgia moved up by 7 steps to 17th easiest economy to do business in, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2017, highlighting continued dedication of Georgia towards further liberalizing its economy. Starting from 2017 reinvested profit becomes tax free in Georgia with the aim to create additional tax incentives for investors to expand their operations and leverage on the competitive advantages of Georgian economy.
Transparent institutions, attractive business environment, significant potential in the areas of exports, tourism, transport, logistics and energy will enable Georgia to remain among the top performers among the CEE countries. For 2017 IMF expects 4% GDP growth, which is the highest among the peer countries.
Expected GDP Growth in CEE Countries in 2017, %
Source: Respective statistical offices and central banks
Downward trend in exports and remittances since 2014, driven by challenging external factors, reached a low point in H1 2016 and began trending upwards. Georgia’s dynamic tourism industry continued to grow, with visitor numbers increasing 7% to 6.4 million people, contributing USD 2.1 billion to the economy.
Deterioration in economic conditions in Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan depressed growth of exports to these countries, on the other hand gradual recovery in Russia and Ukraine positively influences export inflows in Georgia. In addition, Georgia continues to diversify its Geographic orientation of exports to more non-traditional markets like China, Iran and other Gulf states.
Georgia signed a free trade agreement with EFTA states, representing a small but symbolic expansion of Georgia’s free-trade partnerships. FTA with China, which is slated to enter into force beginning from second half of 2017, will abolish all export tariffs for c. 95% of Georgian exports. Goods to benefit most from the FTA with China include traditional export products of food and beverages.
The dependence of Georgian exports on traditional markets in the CIS is gradually declining in favor of a more balanced geographical profile of exports that will further enhance the resilience of the Georgian economy toward any new global and regional shocks. Export dependence on the CIS market declined from 8.9% of GDP in 2014 to 5% of GDP in 2016. This reduces the sensitivity of the domestic economy to the developments in the CIS in the future.
According to consensus among international organizations, Georgian economic growth is expected to remain among the top performers in the CEE region. According to the IMF, the Georgian economy is expected to expand by 4% in 2017 highest growth projection among immediate neighbors as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.
Transport and Communications
One of the key competitive advantages of Georgia is its role as a transit and logistics hub for trade in goods and oil and gas transported from Central Asia and Caspian Sea to Europe and Turkey. Transport sector accounted for around 8% of in 2016. Infrastructure development is one of the key pillars of Government reform agenda. Starting from 2017 public capital investment is expected to increase by around 1% of GDP. Reforms and investment in infrastructure have improved the country’s regional role in transporting oil and gas, as well as other commodities. Some of the major projects in this sector are reviewed below.
Georgia’s role as a regional hub for transport and communications will be further strengthened by the Tbilisi-Baku-Kars railway, which is announced to become operational by the end of 2017. The new railway will connect regional countries to the European market and is expected to increase passenger and cargo traffic through Georgia.
BP Shah Deniz II
BP expects that the investment in the Shah Deniz II gas pipeline project will be USD 2 billion until 2018, and c. 20% of the investment will be spent via local contractors; in 2014-2015 about USD 700 million was already invested in Georgia.
Anaklia Deep Sea Port
A deep-Sea Port will be constructed in Anaklia, which will further facilitate the transit and logistical potential of Georgia. The project is expected to start in 2016 and the first stage project investment will amount to c. USD 500-700 million in the coming four years.
Georgia boosts significant potential of hydro energy. Given abundance of water resources, there is a vast potential for construction small to medium size HPPs as well as several large scale projects. The sector attracted high FDIs in 2014, 2015 and 2016(9m)-190 million 123 mln and 130 million respectively (which was around 11%, 8% and 10% of total FDIs).
One of the priorities for the Government is to promote the development of Georgia’s power generation capacity, which will enhance Georgia’s energy selfsufficiency and the availability of affordable energy. Neskra HPP is a large scale project with total estimated investment of USD 1 billion, the project is financed by EBRD, ADB, Export-Import Bank of Korea in cooperation with the Georgian Partnership Fund and is planned to be completed by 2019. Once completed, Nenskra HPP is expected to fill the gap between the supply and demand of electricity in Georgia and reduce dependence on imported energy sources, especially during winter.
According to its strategy, the Georgian Government will actively support tourist infrastructure, new tourist product offerings, and an increase in service quality levels. Apart from leisure tourism, the government also aims to increase MICE tourism and expect around 8 million international arrivals by 2019, hence the need for new infrastructure projects.
As of 2015, Georgia had 8.7 beds per 1,000 visitors (down from 16.0 in 2010), far below the 42.6 average (2014) in Eastern European peers. The reason why Georgia is far behind its EE peer country’s average is that growth of visitors far outpaced hospitality infrastructure growth. Since 2010 the number of beds in the hospitality sector increased by 59% to 51.4 thousand, while the number of visitors doubled to reach 6.4 million in 2016. Over the next five years, the construction of new international and local upscale hotels will add more than 4,000 hotel rooms in Tbilisi and Batumi. 68% of the planned hotel projects are international medium and upscale brand hotels. By 2020 international chains like Millennium, Intercontinental, Park Inn by Radisson, and Crowne Plaza are expected to launch operations in Georgia.
Population: 3.7 mn1
GDP (FY 2015 / 2014): USD 13.9 bn / USD 16.5bn2
GDP per capita (FY 2015 / 2014): USD 9.6k / USD 9.2k3
Average real GDP growth (2010-2015): 5.1%2
Among the friendliest Tax Regime globally 4
#16 globally on Ease of Doing Business 5
#8 on starting a Business6
One of the most transparent countries in the world7
For additional information please see Ministry of Finance of Georgia web site www.mof.ge
1 Population is based on Geostat figures.
2 GDP, average GDP and real GDP growth are based on Geostat figures.
3 PPP, IMF, WEO, October 2016 update.
4 22th globally on Paying Taxes, WB, doing business report 2017.
5 Doing Business Report 2017.
6 Doing Business Report 2017.
7 Transparency International 2013 Global Corruption Barometer.
8 GDP Composition based on Geostat figures.
Last updated on 24 February 2017.
|% of GDP unless otherwise indicated||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010|
|Real GDP (YoY)||2.8||4.6||6.4||6.4||7.2||6.2|
|Nominal GPD (bn USD)||13.9||16.5||16.1||15.8||14.4||11.6|
|GDP per capita, PPP (USD)||9,630||9.198.2||8,527.3||8,002.4||7,286.9||6,568.3|
|Unemployment rate (%)||12.0||12.4||14.6||15.0||15.1||16.3|
|CPI inflation (YoY, pa)||3.9||3.1||-0.5||-0.9||8.7||7.1|
|Loans to the Economy||40.5||44.5||39.0||33.3||31.6||30.2|
|Financial sector assets||79.4||70.7||64.3||54.9||52.1||50.9|
Source: NBG, Geostat, MOF, IMF
The financial sector, dominated by the banks, continues to grow under a prudent regulatory framework. by the end of Q4 2016 total assets of the banking sector increased by 19.8% YoY and amounted to 30.1 billion GEL or 90% of GDP1.
By the end of Q4 2016 the total loan portfolio increased by 18.1% YoY and reached 56.6% of GDP1, however in real terms (excl. FX effect) growth of the loan portfolio was 10.7%, loans in national currency increased by 15.2% while foreign currency loans increased by 8.3% (excludes FX effect). Over the same period the share of foreign currency loans in the total loan portfolio increased by 0.9 PP YoY to 65.4%, however, excluding FX effect, dollarization declined by 1.4 PP. declining interest rates on national currency lending enabled by easier monetary policy contributes to the de-dollarization of the loan portfolio. On the other hand, Deposit dollarization increased by 2.4 PP to 72.5% over the same period.
The National Bank of Georgia and government introduced new initiatives to reduce the dollarization of the financial system, which represents one of the key challenges of the Georgian financial sector. The programme includes a one-off, voluntary conversion of certain USD mortgages into the national currency at a favourable rate as well as support de-dollarisation of certain retail secured loans below GEL 100,000 through providing respective funding and implementing appropriate regulations. The NBG is providing US dollar and GEL liquidity for the banks during this process.
In the longer run, the financial sector continues to exhibit the trend of de-dollarisation of loans as well as deposits. Incidences of depreciation only result in a one-time increase in the dollarisation rate, while in the longer run overall macroeconomic stability, stable inflation as well as prudent macroeconomic policies work towards increasing confidence in the national currency and de-dollarisation of the financial sector.
The quality of the credit portfolio for the financial sector remains healthy, in Q4 2016 the share of non-performing loans in the total loan portfolio stood at 3.4% according to the IMF methodology, 0.4pp decrease QoQ.
1 Estimated numbers for 4Q nominal GDP.
Last updated on 24 February 2017.