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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Armenia's Economic Pulse

    By Ara Martirosian

    AZG Armenian Daily

    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

    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.

    What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.

  • #2
    Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


    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.

    What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


    • #3
      Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      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.

      What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


      • #4
        Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


        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.

        What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


        • #5
          Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          By Ara Martirosian

          AZG Armenian Daily

          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

          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

          What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


          • #6
            Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


            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.

            What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


            • #7
              Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


              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

              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

              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

              What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


              • #8
                Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


                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.

                What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


                • #9
                  Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


                  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

                  "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.

                  What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.


                  • #10
                    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