Azerbaijan Isn’t Exporting Much of Anything
I’ve been searching around, looking for information about Azerbaijan’s exports. Turns out they don’t really export much of anything except for oil. The International Trade Centre posts relevant trade numbers. If you go through and set the parameters for Azerbaijan in 2008, my favorite line is the “Share in national exports” line. As you stroll through the categories, from fresh food to textiles to minerals, you’ll see that Azerbaijan basically exports nothing but minerals, nothing but oil. Particularly amusing, too, is the “Value of exports” line. In US dollars, in 2008, Azerbaijan managed to export $3,639 of wood products. Astounding. What does that even mean? That’s so little in the way of exports it’s almost embarrassing. I don’t even know why you bother reporting that.
You can also go here, to the IndexMundi website that compiles information from the ITC and World Bank. You can see there the comical reports of Azerbaijan’s exports from 2001 to 2005. In particular, it looks like Azerbaijan managed to export $5,000 worth of sugar in 2003, far outstripping their wood product exports from 2008. But more than just silly looking numbers on their stats sheet, collectively the numbers look really strange. Azerbaijan will go from exporting a commodity for millions of dollars one year, and then a few years later will only manage to export a $3-4,000-worth. That’s some crazy fluctuation. Certainly not the kind of instability I’d want to see in my economic activities.
The last big deal here is that Azerbaijan exports virtually none of their fresh produce. This is great for us while we’re living here. Going to the bazaar is great because we can buy kilos of awesome fruits and vegetables for sell-off prices, especially when things are in season. I’ve heard tell of buying tomatoes for 20 qepik (about 25 cents) for a kilo (about 2 pounds) at the height of tomato season. That’s ridiculous. There certainly are good reasons for Azerbaijan not trading in produce, though. Among those are the terrible transportation infrastructure, such as terrible roads, and the lack of any resources for preserving produce.