Azeri oil fund SOFAZ helps cushion coronavirus impact

BAKU, April 17 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s state oil fund SOFAZ said on Friday its assets fell to $41.349 billion by April 1 from $43.323 billion at the beginning of this year due to bigger than expected transfers to the state.

The fund manages the ex-Soviet country’s proceeds from oil contracts, oil and gas sales, transit fees and other revenues.

It said that transfers to the state budget in the first quarter totalled 4.613 billion manats ($2.7 billion), 1.8 billion manats more than projected.

SOFAZ sells currency on the market, helping to maintain stability amid high volatility due to economic and financial problems, caused by an impact of the coronavirus on the economy.

“The fund sold $2.771 billion on the market in the first quarter to satisfy rising demand on the currency,” the fund said in a statement.

$1=1.7 manats Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle