Uzbekistan flag Uzbekistan: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID.

Uzbekistan has been implementing ambitious market-oriented economic reforms, which, before 2020 had a positive impact on the country's economy. However, in 2020, the country recorded its worst economic performance in over two decades mainly due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (such as weak domestic demand and private consumption, as well as a decline in tourism and in remittances from Uzbeks abroad). Still, GDP growth remained positive at 1.9% before jumping again at +7.4% in 2021 and +5.2% in 2022. It is expected to stabilise at a high level in 2023 (4.7%) and 2024 (4.9%), subject to the post-pandemic global economic recovery, conclusion of the market reforms opening new prospects for export-led growth and addressing production bottlenecks and regulatory constraints.The rebound in remittances and the increase in social spending are expected to continue boosting domestic demand in 2023. Moreover, abundant and varied natural resources, low public debt, solid foreign exchange reserves, aggressive investment programmes, a growing labour force, and a strategic geographic position between China and Europe further factor into Uzbekistan's looming economic development.

According to the IMF, government debt grew to an estimated 35.8% of GDP in 2021 and 34.1% in 2022, and is expected to reach 33.1% in 2023 and 30.8% in 2024. Periodic price increases for utilities kept inflation high in 2021 (10.8%) and 2022 (11.2%) and the recovery in domestic demand is expected to keep inflation high in 2023 (10.8%) before a relative slow down at 9.5% in 2024 (IMF, January 2023). Tightening of monetary and credit policies will be required for inflation to moderate in the coming years. The current account deficit of USD 3.96 billion increased due to the decline in remittances and a trade deficit driven by purchases to diversify the economy. In 2022, the deficit is expected to further increase with the rebound in imports, reaching USD 4.1 billion or -5.6% of GDP. Key economic challenges in Uzbekistan include lack of economic diversification, reliance on commodity prices, a large informal economy, low economic competition, an underdeveloped banking sector, and state intervention in credit, prices, administrative, and custom affairs (COFACE, 2022). The Government's 2017-2021 strategic plan included reforming bureaucracy, establishing rule of law, opening the economy, and promoting, education, health, and infrastructure to attract private investments and reduce both unemployment and poverty. The Government's aims to transform Uzbekistan into an industrialised, upper-middle-income country by 2030, and has recently announced plans to modernise the agriculture sector, reduce its ownership of state-owned assets and enterprises, and address constraints in the financial markets. In 2020-2021, the Uzbek government's efforts to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic included additional spending on health care (including for medicines, the costs of quarantines, and salary supplements for healthcare workers) and social assistance (as there was an increase in the number of families with children and low-income families receiving social benefits), as well as international financial support (from the World Bank, the IMF, and the ADB). The government created an Anti-Crisis Fund of USD 1 billion (about 2% of GDP), temporary reduced some taxes, postponed the payment of property and land taxes, extended a moratorium on tax audits, and delayed tax declarations for 2019 income taxes.

According to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations of Uzbekistan, the unemployment rate was 9.5% in 2021 and 10% in 2022. However, this rate severely underestimates the size of the informal sector. According to Coface, 58% of employment is in the informal sector, which was the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the overall economic growth and increased urbanisation in the recent years contradict the persisting poverty. The country is threatened by decades-long tense relations with Kyrgyzstan along the border. However, emerging economic ties and warming social relations between the two countries give hope to a friendly resolution of the issue. Other risks include resolving border disputes, water issues, and food security. The continued expansion of social assistance and public investments to improve rural infrastructure, and vaccination costs, will continue to elevate public spending in 2022 and 2023. This will be partially offset by higher tax, mining, and privatization revenues, leading to an overall fiscal deficit of 5.5% of GDP in 2021. COVID-19 uncertainties and a forthcoming VAT rates reduction in 2023, are likely to contribute to a higher medium-term fiscal deficit. A robust economic recovery, the gradual withdrawal of anti-crisis measures, and tax administration reforms to widen the tax base are projected to help consolidate public finances and stabilise debt at about 33% of GDP by end-2023.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 80.4290.3999.58113.03129.04
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,2802,5092,7103,0163,375
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 34.935.134.833.933.0
Inflation Rate (%) n/a10.
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -0.62-3.86-4.58-5.27-6.12
Current Account (in % of GDP) -0.8-4.3-4.6-4.7-4.7

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Uzbek Sum (UZS) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 4,001.572,432.5510,766.2011,046.0012,890.09

Source: World Bank, 2015


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Latest Update: December 2023

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