Thursday, September 9, 2010
In 2005, Azerbaijan issued a set and souvenir sheet picturing Orchids (Scott #789-92 and 792a). 20,000 sets and 10,000 souvenir sheets were issued, and Scott '11 prices them each unused at $6.75. Both make interesting and low-risk speculations based on their appeal as Flower topicals, and as bets on the economic growth of Azerbaijan and the development of a stamp market there. This recommendation is consistent with my belief that one of the best ways to play the new and newly resurrected countries of Europe and Asia is to focus on popular topicals with low printings.
Azerbaijan is an oil-rich nation of about 9 million people, which also has significant reserves of natural gas and various minerals. Agriculture and tourism are also important to the Azerbaijani economy. The country shares all the problems of the former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its energy resources brighten its long-term prospects. It has begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. Annual GDP growth has averaged a stellar 21% over the last 5 years, largely based on the frenetic development of the country's oil wealth - an estimated 7 billion barrels of reserves.