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    Thread: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    1. #1
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      Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ECONOMY OF ARMENIA REMAINS "COMPETITIVE ON THE WHOLE"
      By Ara Martirosian

      AZG Armenian Daily
      04/07/2007

      In order to preserve the competitiveness, the Government of Armenia
      should invest additional efforts, according to the Head of IMF
      delegation in Armenia

      After the meeting with the representatives of RA Government, Central
      Bank, International donors and Armenian businessmen, the Head of
      International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission's Armenian group Ms. Marta
      Castello-Branco met with the reporters in Armenia, on July 2.

      Summarizing the recorded indexes of Armenian economy of the first 5
      months of 2007, she stated that the indexes remained "impressive",
      as the growth of GDP exceeded the expectations and the inflation was
      consonant with the purposeful index.

      According to the representative of IMF, Armenia is notable for
      its combination of high economic growth and low inflation in the
      region. Armenia has recorded progress in tax-collecting sphere,
      though there are more opportunities of progress in this sphere.

      Ms. Marta Castello-Branco stressed the importance of preserving the
      high rates of the economic growth and the urgency of further reducing
      of poverty.

      At the same time she expressed concern over the rapid rise of wheat in
      international market, which might have an influence upon the economic
      growth index of Armenia.

      The economic growth index may be influenced also by Central Bank,
      which buys dollar to reduce the rapid shakings of currency value.

      The next possible factor on the economic growth index is that fewer
      expenses are run up in the first half of this year and the increase
      in the expenses of the second half of this year may record surplus
      inflation.

      There are three main issues in the economy of Armenia according to
      IMF representative of Armenia: the amendments in pension system,
      gas subsidization and competition of economy.

      IMF welcomes the new project of the Armenian Government to improve the
      pension system. The pensions are very low in Armenia at present. It's
      necessary to increase the subtractions for the pensions and to raise
      the pensions. It may also influence the inflation index.

      The next issue is the subsidization of gas, as the subsidization time
      of the gas ends by the end of 2008, and after it the gas prices will
      rise rapidly. There is a big threat that the consumer prices will also
      have a rapid rise influenced by the gas prices. IMF representative
      advised the Government to reduce the subsidization gradually. And
      also to subsidize only socially not provided strata.

      The issue of the competition of Armenian economy is connected with
      the valuation of Armenian dram. In spite of a great number of inflows
      of foreign currency, which have a negative influence on some export
      spheres and the households that are dependent on private transfers,
      the IMF records that the economy of Armenia remains "competitive on
      the whole". In order to preserve the competitiveness, the Government
      of Armenia should invest additional efforts to improve the business
      environment and to increase the productivity.


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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      A BANK WITH GERMAN CAPITAL BEING FOUNDED IN ARMENIA

      Noyan Tapan
      Jul 03 2007

      YEREVAN, JULY 3, NOYAN TAPAN. The CBA Board on July 3 preliminarily
      approved the bank activity licensing of the ProKredit Bank CJSC
      in Armenia.

      According to the report provided to Noyan Tapan by the CBA Press
      Service, the ProKredit Bank CJSC's three founders, the ProKredit
      Holding AG and the Development Bank (KfW-Kreditenschaft fur
      Wiederaufbau), as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and
      Development (EBRD) have applied to the Central Bank of Armenia with
      the mediation to found ProKredit Bank CJSC.


      http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg195020.html
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      FOREIGN INVESTORS TOOK THE FANCY OF IMMOVABLES, BANKS AND ENERGY IN ARMENIA
      Narine Kirakosyan

      ArmInfo, May 22, 2007.
      2007-07-03 12:11:00

      Interview of Head of the Department of Consulting Services of 'Ameria'
      Company Gagik Sahakyan

      If the Armenian entrepreneurs, having a business-project, used to
      apply for professional consultation at the end of 90s for attraction
      of investments, today they apply for advise regarding increase of
      productivity of investments in economy and profitability of their
      business. As the saying goes," contribution demands wit" and investors
      often apply for this "wit" to "Ameria", the leading company in the
      market of consulting services in Armenia. "Ameria" specializes in four
      main spheres of professional activity: managerial consulting; audit;
      accounting and tax consulting; juridical consulting; investment and
      banking services.

      Head of the Department of Consulting Services of "Ameria" Company
      Gagik Sahakyan kindly agreed to answer a number of questions of
      ArmInfo correspondent.

      Mr Sahakyan , your company, founded in 1998, has soon become the
      leader in the Armenian market of consulting services. You introduced
      the international experience in this sphere and showed understanding
      of the local peculiarities during solution of complex problems in
      more than 30 spheres of economy and public activity. What is the
      evolution of consulting services over the last years?

      In 1998-2000, we were more addressed a request to find investors. The
      entrepreneurs had ideas, however, the political-economic situation
      of those years was accompanied by lots of financial problems, which
      had to be solved.

      Our specialists also assisted in developing a strategic plan of
      development, directed to potential investors. Then they started
      addressing more for support during restructurization of production,
      i.e. when it is necessary to determine the points of "increased danger"
      in the business system, reveal the inner reserves of the enterprise,
      enhance its investment attractiveness. Then, the domestic enterprises,
      which lost the external markets, had to find new target markets,
      for which our specialists examined the market demands. In addition,
      if the market was free for almost all the business undertakings in
      the midst-end, 90s, now big competition exist in the market and our
      clients seek for the ways of competitiveness increase.

      However, evolutional development exists here as well. For example, at
      the end of 90s, we advised the Armenian entrepreneurs on processing
      of agricultural production, who lost the market, to refuse from
      production in glass container, aimed at the final consumer, and
      start production of concentrated juice, tomato and other products
      in big aseptic barrels aimed at industrial consumers. This saved the
      companies' resources and allowed entering the international markets
      with confidence. However, now, when the financial state is stable and
      upgrading is completed, we advise again to switch over to production
      aimed at the final user. Although it requires considerable marketing
      efforts but enables to work in more profitable segments. Today,
      the business development evolution has reached the level when the
      majority of our clients address us for the purpose of increasing
      efficiency of their business processes. This includes optimization
      of organizational and functional structures of companies, development
      and implementation of informational control systems, etc.

      What sphere do the investors prefer today to invest money in?

      The investors are greatly interested in developer projects. Of course,
      initially, the investors wish to study the financial peculiarities in
      the area of construction of the housing real estate, its profitability
      and the possible concomitant risks. The agricultural and processing
      sectors, which need enlargement of technological opportunities,
      also regenerate. At the same time, unfortunately, the textile and
      engineering industries are in crisis. The facilities of metal mining
      industry remain rather demanded for investments. It is pleasant to
      note that despite the positive conjuncture in external markets,
      the majority of companies, which exploit the large deposits, are
      guided by experience of the efficient foreign management and attract
      qualitative resources as to increase efficiency of the processes.

      Some interest is also observed in the area of information technologies.

      You render consultations in the banking sphere as well. It would be
      interesting to know your assessment of the situation.

      I would characterize the situation in the banking system of Armenia as
      stable with all the pluses and minuses typical to this stability. In
      fact, we have a rather predictable banking system, a relative security
      of investments, low inflation level, on one hand. On the other hand,
      most of the banks are passive in their investment activity, that
      negatively affects potential development of the industry. Here, we
      lag behind many countries, including the CIS developing countries. For
      example, the situation in Georgia in this aspect has radically changed
      over the last years. The banking system here develops more rapidly. I
      think the point is that the key free resources of the banking system
      are mainly concentrated on the building and development projects where
      the level of risk is more predictable than in industry. However, I
      am sure that investments in the banking sphere will grow and lead to
      diversification of the banking services and use of new technologies
      that, in its turn, will cause toughening of competition and natural
      strive for broadening of the client base via a literate and more
      aggressive policy.

      There are foreign investments in the energy sphere of Armenia,
      especially in the small energy. This is a profitable sphere for
      investors. Why the energy prices are so high in Armenia?

      The power generation in Armenia is carried out by three main sources
      and the prime cost of each of them vastly differs. The hydropower
      plants assure 20% of the total energy output, the nuclear power
      plant generates the cheapest electric power and assures 40% of the
      demand. The heat power plants generate the same volume of power and
      the prime cost of each kW makes up more than 3 cents. I think our
      electric power prices are not so high taking into account that 1 kW
      at night costs 15 drams and 25 drams in daytime. This is a fair price
      which allows the energy-generating plants to gain rational profit
      and attract new investments for upgrading of plants and construction
      of new powers. Moreover, it should be noted that the policy of
      tariffs especially stimulates investments in the renewable energy
      resources. The investment activity, observed in the sphere of HPP,
      is stipulated for this fact, especially as the operational life of
      Hrazdan hydropower plant ends in 2017, and that of Metsamor Nuclear
      Power Plant ends a year earlier. Construction of new NPP is undecided,
      especially since this project is very expensive.

      Therefore, the extensive network of HPP may become a partial
      alternative to it.

      At last, can you comment on the prospects of development of tourist
      business in Armenia?

      If the matter concerns the tourism development as such, it is
      necessary to get concentrated on the directions of the sphere where
      the investments may give results. You see, there are prerequisites
      for the religious tourism development, there is an extreme or an
      echo-tourism, which may and must be developed in Armenia. Having all
      the resources - historical and cultural objects - one could develop
      a tourist infrastructure meeting the international standards. For
      example, one could design places for souvenir-trade, small hotels,
      restaurants and other infrastructures with attraction of designers and
      landscape architects, taking into account the opinion of the Church.

      At the same time, the tourists are attracted not only by sightseeing,
      but the rest and entertaining programmes as well. As for the resort
      town of Tsakhkadzor, one cannot say that it has become a resort. Here
      the main problem is not the absence of investments but of a concept
      according to which this area is developed. The investors made great
      contributions where and how they liked, however, in most of cases,
      the resort development logic was not taken into account during the
      hotel construction. High prices in the hotels is another problem to
      be fortunately solved by the market. High prices seem to dictate
      high-level service. In fact, the service in these hotels should
      pass a long way to meet the international standards. In a nutshell,
      Tsakhkadzor has no style that is typical to a mountain-ski resort,
      and this omission should be completed if the investors wish to repay
      their expenses and the state - to stimulate development of a definite
      niche in tourism.


      http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg195004.html
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIA'S FOREIGN DEBT GROWS BY $45 MLN IN 1Q07, TO $2.1 BLN

      RIA Novosti, Russia
      July 3 2007

      YEREVAN, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - Armenia's gross foreign debt grew
      by $45.2 million in the first three months of 2007, to $2.1 billion
      as of April 1, the national statistics service of the South Caucasus
      republic said Tuesday.

      The Armenian government's foreign debt stood at $1.0 billion, the
      private sector's foreign liabilities amounted to $367.5 million,
      monetary authorities owed $185.1 million and commercial banks $201.5
      million, while direct foreign investment in the form of loans totaled
      $292.1 million, the service said.

      Long-term liabilities accounted for 68.9% ($1.4 billion) of the
      republic's foreign bill.

      Armenia's gross foreign assets increased by $27.3 million in the
      reporting period to $1.4 billion as of April 1, the statistics
      service said.

      As a result, Armenia's net foreign debt grew by $72.5 million, to
      $718.4 million in the reporting period, the statistics service said.


      http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg194937.html
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      DILIJAN - A FINANCIAL CENTER?
      By Ara Martirosian

      AZG Armenian Daily
      27/06/2007

      Serge Sarkisian's suggestion for changing Armenia into a regional
      financial center

      The Chairman of the Union of Armenian Banks Stephan Gishian summarized
      the results of 2006 in the annual meeting of the union on June 25.

      According to Gishian an intense competition was recorded among the
      21 banks of Armenia in 2006. Thanks to it the service level rose and
      the services were developed.

      In 2006 all the banks had profits - 17.1 billion drams in total. The
      banks' assets increased by 20% - 544 billion drams, the deposits
      exceeded 150 billion drams.

      Stephan Gishian was sure that this year the results would be better,
      but he mentioned that there were also many things to do.

      The deposits are only 5% of GDP in Armenia, while in European countries
      it is 50%. The banking level is very low in the regions.

      The Chairman of the Union of Armenian Banks called all the bankers
      to put more efforts in order to direct money turnover to the banks
      and to reduce the shadow.

      The Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian in his speech assured that Armenian
      banking system is involved in the world financial processes. He also
      mentioned that the role of banking system in the development of the
      economy is unsatisfactory, that's why the specific weight of the
      loans in GDP does not exceed 10%.

      The Prime Minister also spoke about the projects that the Government
      would realize together with the Central Bank and Union of Armenian
      Banks.

      The first proposal is to change Armenia into a regional financial
      center. Taking into account not-proportional development of the
      Armenian regions and that most of the people who live out of the
      capital are deprived of making use of the banking system, the Prime
      Minister proposed choosing a medium or a little town in Armenia and
      changing it into a financial center. "For example, Dilijan or another
      town. It will also contribute to the development of the whole region",
      he said.

      The Chairman of the Armenian Central Bank Tigran Torosian responded
      to the proposal of the Prime Minister and said that the Central Bank
      and the Union of Armenian Banks would discuss what investments and
      how long it would take to change one of the Armenian towns into a
      financial center.

      The Chairman of the Central Bank mentioned that the annual 20-30%
      development of the banking system was not enough for the aim of
      increasing the role of the banks in the development of the economy. It
      might be at least 40%.

      He also attached importance to the growth of the involvement of natural
      and juridical persons in the banking system. The bank clients' number
      increased only by 8.5% (60.000 people) and was 763.000: 723.000 -
      natural persons and about 40.000 - juridical persons.

      The next issue is the strengthening of the competition of banking
      system. 5 foreign banks will start their business in the Armenian
      banking system soon: "Armpostbank" with Dutch capital, Russian
      "Gasprombank", Lebanese "Byblos" bank, Austrian "Rayfazen" and German
      "Procredit" banks.

      Tigran Torosian attached importance to the development of hypothec
      market and mentioned that in the next 5 years it is planned to increase
      the volumes of crediting to 350 billion drams instead of present 30
      billion drams.

      Not-compatible companies leave the insurance sphere.

      In the security market the Swiss OMX will get the Armenian Stock
      Exchange and Central Depositary and will start the development of
      this sphere.

      The Chairman of the Central Bank also promised to create 600 billion
      drams savings 5 years later in virtue of the reforms in the pension
      system.


      http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg194105.html
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIA CAN MEET 30-40% OF ITS ENERGY NEEDS WITH OWN ENERGY RESOURCES IN NEXT 15-20 YEARS

      Noyan Tapan
      Jun 27 2007

      YEREVAN, JUNE 27, NOYAN TAPAN. Armenia can meet 30-40% of its energy
      needs with its own energy resources in the next 15-20 years. The
      RA Deputy Minister of Energy Ara Simonian told reporters on June 27
      that Armenia's energy strategical program attaches special importance
      to the development of renewable, alternative energy. In particular,
      it is important to build small hydropower plants. Small hydropower
      plants currently generate 200-230 million kwh of electricity, and
      there is potential for constructing 270 small hydropower plants with
      the capacity of 600-700 million kwh in the next 15-20 years. Their
      construction will ensure 15% of the total energy consumption.

      According to A. Simonian, the construction of three big hydropower
      plants, namely the Meghri hydropower plant with the capacity of
      130-140 megawatts, the Shnogh plant (75 megawatts) and the Loriberd
      hydropower plant (60 megawatts) is also of key importance.

      The deputy minister said that in terms of using solar energy,
      Armenia is considered to be a country with quite a great potential
      as compared with the average European one: the average potential of
      European countries makes 1,000 kwh per square meter, while in Armenia
      this index makes 1,720 kwh.


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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIA'S GOVERNMENT PLANS TO PROVIDE 8-10% ANNUAL GDP GROWTH IN 2007-2012

      ARKA News Agency, Armenia
      June 26 2007

      YEREVAN, June 26. /ARKA/. Armenia's Government plans to provide
      8-10% annual GDP growth in 2007-2012, runs the action plan of the RA
      Government submitted to the Parliament on Tuesday. The document said
      that the growth will allow Armenia entering the group of countries
      with average income by the end of 2009.

      The Government attaches importance to the maintenance of macroeconomic
      growth from the viewpoint of stable economic growth.

      With this objective it is planned to continue tax and budgetary policy
      in maintaining stable tempos of economic growth and macroeconomic
      stability.

      At the same time, according to the Government, the reliable and
      predictable money and credit policy to be implemented by the Central
      Bank of Armenia is an important precondition for economic development.

      According to the program, the Government planned minimum 10% growth
      of annual investments. The growth of urban employment is planned 10%
      or 105ths positions. Such result is planned to be achieved by means
      of encouraging investments and further development of business
      and investment environment as well as simplification of business
      procedures.

      The annual growth of labor productivity is expected to make 7% in
      the coming five years.

      The Government intends to provide 27-30% correlation of investments
      and GDP which will be enough to provide 8-10% GDP growth.

      The necessary volume of capital investments is planed to be achieved
      by private investments, in some cases on the basis of cooperation
      between state and private sectors.

      According to the program, the level of collection of state incomes
      is expected to make 0.3-0.4pct from annual GDP.

      The Government also planed annual increase in pensions, as a result
      of which in 2012 the average pension will exceed the index of poverty
      by 1.5 times.

      Besides, it is envisaged to increase financing of social, healthcare
      and culture sectors. According to the program, state expenditures of
      the social maintenance and social insurance system will make 6.2%,
      healthcare - 2.2%, education - 3.5% of the GDP.

      The program points out that the Government treats 29.8% poverty level
      rather high. Significant poverty reduction is considered as one of
      the main objectives of the executive power. The document envisages
      significant poverty reduction, as a result of which the index will
      be lower than 11.2% in 2010 and the extreme poverty - less than 1.6%.

      At that the total level of poverty should not exceed 6.4% in Yerevan,
      15.1%, - in other cites, 12% - in rural areas. The extreme poverty
      should not exceed 0.8% in Yerevan, 2.3% - in other cities - 2.3%
      and rural areas - 1.7%.

      Cooperating with all the sides interested, the Government will
      continue the process of considering the Strategic program overcoming
      poverty and in 2007 will approve the program for 2008-2015, treating
      it as the most important element of the country's stable and safe
      development.


      http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg194127.html
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT SET PRIORITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF MAIN ECONOMIC SPHERES

      ARKA News Agency, Armenia
      June 26 2007

      YEREVAN, June 26. /ARKA/. The Armenian Government set priorities for
      development of the main economic spheres, says the government action
      program for 2008-2012 submitted to the parliament Tuesday.

      The Armenian Government attached importance to the increasing of the
      share of industry in the structure of economic growth, as well as to
      the obtaining of a status of industrial country for Armenia.

      The document stresses the importance of implementing industrial
      export-oriented policy. The Armenian Government will support the
      development of new and technologically advanced spheres and will set
      favorable conditions to attract investments to the industrial sector.

      The program also attaches importance to complex development of chemical
      and metal mining industry. The first priority in the Armenian industry
      is the development of metal mining industry to facilitate the long-term
      development of the country's economy, says the program. According
      to the program, administrative and legislative conditions should be
      improved to take the advantage of the huge potential of metal mining
      industry in Armenia.

      The government will remain focused also on applying products and
      services of IT sector and forming "an electronic community" in Armenia
      due to the great role IT sector plays in economic progress of the
      country, as well as in increasing the efficiency and maintaining the
      competitiveness on world markets.

      Among key spheres the Armenian Government considered also agriculture
      providing about 18% of GDP and 45% of employment in the country. The
      program points out that the share of agriculture in GDP decreased in
      the recent years due to advanced rates of growth of construction and
      trade spheres, but the considerable share of agrarian sector in the
      country's economy is to remain considerable and to make 14% of GDP
      in 2012.

      Taking into account the peculiarities of the sphere, the government
      intends to conduct balanced policies - increase the efficiency through
      private and state investments on one hand and implement target support
      to small producers on the other hand.

      Consistent efforts are to be taken to eliminate the hindrances to
      rural credits and to set preconditions for introduction of insurance
      against climate risks.

      The program envisages a considerable increase in the state investments
      in construction and improvement of rural roads. All the settlements
      in Armenia are expected to have at least one normal road connected
      them to international roads.


      http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg194133.html
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIAN CCI TO CONTRIBUTE TO COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

      ARKA News Agency, Armenia
      June 29 2007

      YEREVAN, June 29. /ARKA/. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of
      Armenia (CCI) intends to make a serious contribution to the achievement
      of major goals of the country's economic development, CCI Chairman
      Martin Sargsyan stated at the opening of the business conference
      "Prospects of Armenia's economic development and CCI's role".

      According to him, in the context of rapid development of the world's
      economy, Armenia's economy has to meet new challenges.

      "Processes of economic globalization not only afford new opportunities
      for the development of national economies, but also pose a threat to
      the countries unprepared for this rapid development," he said.

      Sargsyan pointed out that Armenia's CCI has established strong ties
      with numerous European and international structures, which affords
      Armenian producers many opportunities for promotion on the world
      markets and for involvement in international trade and economic
      processes.

      "Armenia's CCI can make a serious contribution to the achievement
      of major goals of the country's economic development and is ready
      to render assistance in resolving the problems arising on this way,"
      he said.

      Speaking of the effectiveness of the conference, Sargsyan said that
      no governmental program can be effectively implemented without being
      supported by the population and business.

      "All of us have a good opportunity to jointly find solutions to the
      global problems facing the country by exchanging experience and making
      practical proposals," he said.

      In his turn, RA Deputy Minister of Trade and Economic Development
      Armen Gevorgyan pointed out that the RA CCI is one of the important
      links in cooperation between the Government and business.

      "The Government, particularly the Ministry of Trade and Economic
      Development, attaches high importance to this cooperation," he said.

      Gevorgyan added that further development of Armenia's CCI will play a
      great role in forming effective business environment in the country,
      particularly in the small and medium business sector.

      The goal of the conference "Prospects of Armenia's economic development
      and CCI's role" is the enhancement of the CCI's role in Armenia's
      socio-economic development, consolidation of the CCI's cooperation
      with government structures and local government bodies as well as
      discussion of urgent problems with businessmen.

      Armenia's CCI launched its activities in 2001 and has representative
      office in all Armenian regions. It is a member of the European and
      International Chambers of Commerce and Industry, World Federation
      of International Chambers, Association of Chambers of Commerce and
      Industry of Black-Sea countries, Business Council of the Black Sea
      Economic Cooperation and the Council of Chairmen of the CIS Chambers
      of Commerce and Industry.


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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ways To Assist Armenia:

      1) Visit Armenia And Spend A Few Bucks There

      2)buy Products Made In Armenia

      3)don't Buy Products Made In Turkey
      BUY "WHO IS MONTE." Proceeds from this film will benefit the families of the fallen soldiers of the Karabagh war. Available at: www.armenianmusic.com

      <<Երբ իրիկունը գլուխներդ դնեք բարծին որ քնանաք, մի քիչ մտածեք ազգի մասին>>
      --ՔԱՋՆ ԱՆԴՐԱՆԻԿ

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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      Every Year 15% of Armenian Population are Involved into Labour Migration

      arminfo
      2007-07-03 23:05:00



      Every year 15% of the Armenian population are involved into labour
      migration, Head of the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration
      Agency for Migration Gagik Yeganyan told journalists, Tuesday.

      At the same time, he said over the last 3 years, positive migration
      balance is observed in Armenia. Moreover, the number of persons
      voluntarily returning to the motherland annually rises by 20-25%.
      Thus, G. Yeganyan said mass migration period is over. However, the
      Government still has a number of current tasks to settle. It is
      necessary to bring the migration legislation of the country in
      accordance with relevant international standards. Under the programme
      of contribution to migration policy formation in Armenia "Return to
      Armenia," migration legislation will be improved through analysis and
      assessment. G. Yeganyan said that in 2007, experts of the programme
      will render technical assistance to drafting laws On Refuge and On
      Organisation of Outside Service.

      To recall, a regular discussion of the programme "Return to Armenia"
      was held in Yerevan, Tuesday, with participation of a number of
      departments and establishments of the country. The programme is
      implemented by combined efforts of the British Council, the
      International Center for Human Development and Armenian Ministry of
      Territorial Administration.


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    12. #12
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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIA'S MONEY SUPPLY TO INCREASE BY 23-25% IN 2007

      ARKA
      Jul 11 2007

      YEREVAN, July 11. /ARKA/. In 2007, Armenia's money supply will increase
      by 23-25% with the accelerated growth of the money supply.

      The CBA protocol said that the money supply growth will make 37-40%
      by the end of the year at the refinancing rate for July 2007.

      At the same time, according to the Central Bank, in June 2008,
      the annual growth of money supply will make 30-33% which will be
      accompanies by the growth of cash in circulation and AMD deposits. In
      this period the total money supply will make 20-22%, and the money
      base will increase by 25-27%.

      The annual growth of money supply in Armenia made 66% in June 2007
      and the AMD deposits made 76.6%. Foreign investments in USD increased
      by 19.2% whereas in AMD they reduced by 1.1%.

      The protocol pointed out that money-and-credit indices during a year
      coincided with the forecasts, and it testifies to maintenance of
      dramalization (replacement of USD with AMD) economy process.

      According to the Central Bank of Armenia, the volume of money supply
      in Armenia made AMD 493.8bln at the beginning of 2007, the volume
      of cash in non-banking system - AMD 216.5bln, call deposits - AMD
      88.33bln. The volume of time deposits made AMD 54.4bln and the volume
      of deposits in foreign currency - AMD 134.7bln.

      The share of deposits in foreign currency within the money supply
      made 27.27% (at the beginning of the year - 29.52%).

      The total volume of money supply in Armenia has increased by AMD 7.6bln
      or 1.56% since the beginning of the year. According to the RA monetary
      and credit policy, the CBA forecasted growth of money supply by 21.8%
      up to AMD 540.95bln. ($1 - AMD 339.02).



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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      $12 MLN TO BE INVESTED IN MODERNIZATION OF ARMENIAN POSTAL SECTOR BY 2012

      ARKA
      10/07/2007 13:58

      Exclusive interview of Haypost company's trustee manager Hans Boon
      with ARKA News Agency

      "ARKA": Mr. Boon, what impact has the transfer of Haypost Company to
      the trust management of the Dutch "Haypost Trust Management" had on
      the activity of Haypost Company?

      Mr. Boon: The transfer of Haypost to the trust management has led to
      the company's being more commercial. Its activity's transparency level
      has increased, particularly the company's financial accountability.

      Naturally, these are positive changes. We are trying to raise our
      standards, to increase their quality, change the company's mentality
      that will impact the cultural level of the Haypost service.

      "ARKA": How much does the Dutch experience encourages the company's
      entry to the world market?

      Mr. Boon: Netherlands has big experience in the sphere of
      commercialization of postal services, and that is the fundament for the
      Postfinance International Company (developer of the Armenian Haypost
      Company transfer to the trust management of the Dutch Haypost Trust
      Management - ARKA) that has been exporting its business concepts
      for over 20 years. The company's employees have working experience
      in over 50 countries, including Central Europe, South Asia, South
      America, and Africa. They specialize in sharing their experience
      in provision of postal services, and this experience demonstrated
      through postal banking.

      "ARKA": How much investments in modernization of Armenia's postal
      system are expected and what activities are planned to implement
      under the modernization program? Are there any priority directions
      in this reform?

      Mr. Boon: According to the trust management program, the investment
      in Armenia's postal system modernization will total approximately
      $12mln for the following five years. We believe, the investments will
      have an impact of the company's performance and progress of postal
      services in general.

      The priorities in the reform will be improvement of postal services
      quality.

      It means both collection of mail and correspondence, and provision
      of delivery in time. Also, we intend to introduce new technologies
      due to which the postal system will be fully modernized and meet the
      international standards.

      We are going to modernize post offices. About four to ten post
      offices will be fully reconstructed during this year. The post office
      will become a comfortable store where a customer can come with full
      assurance to get quality service. In addition, we are thinking about
      expanding the scope of our services.

      Post is now associated with letters, packages, or packets, and we
      are going to change this stereotype by introducing new services,
      such as direct mail, designed for business clients to send out their
      products and information to multiple potential clients.

      Also, such services as delivery of clients' letters through their
      provision of electronic files for printing and resending them to
      addressees will be included. At the same time, Haypost will be
      fulfill the function of feedback support, for instance by sending
      information to clients with the receipt saying "we would like to
      receive information from this organization henceforth".

      However, our priority objective remains improvement of services
      quality.

      "ARKA": Will the modernization of the postal system lead to redundancy
      in the company.

      Mr. Boon: Of course, changes in the company will tell on the number
      of its staff. Today, about 4000 people are employed at the company,
      and it makes Haypost one of the largest employers of Armenia. However,
      we will have rather considerable changes that will have an impact
      on the number and the quality aspect of the staff. However, all the
      measures will be taken with a careful approach.

      The company will work with such employees who can and want to accept
      changes in Haypost in order to increase its performance. For these
      people we plan to provide training programs to the end of their
      adjustment to changes. We also plan a very careful and farsighted
      reorganization of Haypost. We do not pursue the goal to fire many
      people.

      Conversely, we want our employees to meet our requirements. We
      will try to find a socially appropriate model and use it for proper
      organization.

      "ARKA": What stage is the creation of the specialized Post Bank in
      Armenia currently in? When is the bank to open, how much will be the
      bank's authorized capital, and what services will the bank provide
      to its clients?

      Mr. Boon: The creation of the specialized Post Bank is a very
      interesting and important question. Much work on the bank's
      preparation, particularly elaboration of marketing policy and
      definition of areas of activity, procedural issues, and information
      processing has been done in this direction.

      Big practical work related to Haypost Company has been done. We want
      Post Bank to be a very reliable organization, so that every citizen
      can trust this bank. However, that means that Haypost in its turn
      has to meet the high requirements with the streamlined cycle of work.

      All of that requires introduction of the best technologies and
      procedures.

      In order for us not to have problems with clients, we want to make
      sure that we will provide high-quality service, meeting the services
      provided by international banks. The development of Post Bank is
      currently at the initial stage. However, it is hard to call the exact
      date of its creation.

      As for the bank's capital, it will total no less than AMD 5bln under
      the Armenian law.

      The post bank will really become a bank for all. It will work with
      post offices, initially providing minor services, but of higher
      quality and reliability.

      Post Bank will also process money transfers and attract deposits. With
      plastic cards it will be possible to make different financial
      operations in the bank, for instance, public utilities payment. All
      these services will be provided at any post office that will
      considerably save clients' time.

      Our package will be especially alluring for those without a bank
      account.

      One more important part of the bank's work will be provision of
      corporate services to companies and firms, dealing particularly with
      electric energy and water supply. They can also benefit from our
      services, because they will be able to receive payments for their
      services quicker.

      This package for them will include bills, deposit and lending services,
      and the whole service related to payment of bills.

      We believe that Post Bank will be an effective instrument for
      companies.

      The third aspect of the bank's activity will be provision of
      consumer credits through which we will play a definitive role in the
      microfinancing sector.

      "ARKA": Will foreign investments participate in the bank's authorized
      capital?

      Mr. Boon: Foreign investments will participate in the bank's capital.

      These will be basically funds of foreign firms. However, local
      companies will also have an opportunity to invest in the bank.

      Management of Post Bank will also be implemented by foreign
      specialists, and we do everything to make our activity meet the
      international standards of quality. We want people to trust our bank
      and use its services.

      It is not improbable that Armenian resident organizations will also
      be able to make investments, but that will be partial investment,
      likely from the funds of an investment fund to be created in future.

      Also, we plan to create mutual funds and make other types of
      investments, particularly, due to emission of our shares including
      bond shares that everyone can buy and sell at the stock exchange. It
      will create more competition in the market and stimulate demand.

      "ARKA": When signing the agreement on transferring Haypost Company to
      the Dutch Haypost Trust Management, the chairman of the Central Bank
      of Armenia did not rule out a possibility to privatize Haypost. Is
      it planned to privatize the company before the trust management
      agreement expires?

      Mr. Boon: Our actions today do not imply privatization. The world
      experience demonstrates that post is a public organization, part of
      the public service.

      It can become a commercial organization within the government's
      ownership. Only after that, according to the world experience, post
      can be privatized.

      Privatization of post is the most complicated process, because it
      is very hard to provide a definite answer to the question whether
      is necessary to privatize at all. We believe that all steps in
      that direction should be made very carefully. As for the Haypost
      privatization, it is still early to speak about it. Besides, a decision
      on privatization should come from the government.

      Today it is necessary to think about the near future of the post,
      which consists in creation of a powerful postal sector and development
      of cooperation with the private sector. For instance, in the sector of
      book publishing: man can visit a post office and purchase a book that
      will be delivered to him later. However, it does not mean that will
      be a private business, but cooperation with a specific private sector.

      The same will be with creation of Post Bank. It will be a private
      enterprise, but will be created in cooperation with the public post. It
      is worth mentioning that we are forming a powerful private-public
      sector, and we believe that at this stage streamlining of its
      productive work, not privatization, is our priority goal.




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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      ARMENIAN CB BOARD: INFLATION MAY DEVIATE FROM TARGET INDEX IN 2007, 2008

      ARKA
      Jul 11 2007

      YEREVAN, July 11. /ARKA/. The Armenian CB Board thinks that the
      inflation may deviate from the target index in 2007 and 2008.

      The Central Bank of Armenia protocol on refinancing for July 2007
      said that by the end of 2007 deviations from the target index by 4%
      (±1,5%). In accordance with the Central Bank of Armenia forecasts,
      in December 2007, the 12-months inflation may make 5% instead of
      forecasted 3.5%.

      At the same time, the CBA Board member think that 3% deviation (±1,5%)
      is possible in 2008. In the second quarter of 2008 the inflation may
      make 4.6% against forecasted 3.3%. The CBA Board believes that in
      the coming 12 months the inflation risks will prevail.

      The following developments that may lead to growth of inflation index
      are more possible: higher growth of international prices for crops as
      compared to the expectations, higher growth for world prices for oil,
      slowdown of rural economy because of unfavorable weather conditions.

      The CBA Board does not exclude further consideration of interest
      rates maintaining present prospect trends of economy development.

      0.3% deflation is recorded in Armenia in June 2007 (as compared to
      May), as a result of which the annual inflation in June 2007 made 4.8%,
      which is more by 0.8pct than forecasted. According to the state budget,
      by the end of 2007 the inflation in Armenia is planned at the level
      of 4% (±1,5%).


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      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      CONSTRUCTION DONE IN JANUARY-MAY THIS YEAR IN RA INCREASES BY 11.6% COMPARED WITH SAME MONTHS OF 2006

      Noyan Tapan
      Jul 11 2007

      YEREVAN, JULY 11, NOYAN TAPAN. Construction amounting to 102b 438.6m
      drams (nearly 301m USD) was done in January-May 2007 in Armenia,
      including construction of production facilities of 53b 032.6m drams. In
      the total volume of construction, construction and assembly measures
      made 87b 591.3m drams, including construction and assembly measures
      of production facilities of 40b 528.6m drams.

      According to the data of the RA National Statistical Service,
      construction done in January-May 2007 increased by 11.6% compared
      with the same period of 2006, including construction and assembly
      measures that grew by 18.7%.

      37.7% of construction in January-May 2007 was done at the expense of
      the population and the rest with the funds of organizations.


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