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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    USA shows its true face to Armenia (o and btw i wonder what happened to that vrej guy?)

    YEREVAN—After the US Embassy in Armenia issued a terse warning to Armenian businesses about the consequences of doing business with Russia in light of the most recent Western sanctions, the Russian Embassy fired back accusing the US of “threatening” Armenia.
    “We encourage all countries and their nationals to consider the reputational risk of doing business with sanctioned individuals and entities and cease business dealings inconsistent with the sanctions that we and others have imposed,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said on Thursday.
    “The U.S. Embassy in Armenia, like other U.S. embassies around the globe, distributed information about these latest sanctions to Government of Armenia representatives as well as to local business organizations,” it added a statement to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (
    The Russian Embassy was quick to respond and accuse the US of using “thinly veiled threats” against the Armenian government and its business community.
    “It is not within diplomatic norms to dictate to a host country’s authorities with whom and how they should maintain ties, especially using suggestive threats against a sovereign state. We expect that the business community of Armenia is also able to independently conduct its business and does not need any and does not need any pressure,” said the Russian Embassy statement.
    “We are concerned about the American attempts to complicate the activities of Russian business in Armenia. All the Russian companies in Armenia, including VTB Bank (Armenia) and Areximbank-Gazprombank Group are under the jurisdiction of Armenia, operate within the limits of Armenia’s legislation, obtain profit and pay taxes in Armenia and secure the employment of the major part of Armenia’s population,” said the Russian Embassy
    “The calls to stop dealings with the Russian companies disavow the U.S. representatives’ hypocritical statements about their willingness to contribute to Armenia’s economic development. One also definitely observes obvious elements of dishonest trade and economic competition in the US’s actions,” added the Russian Embassy.
    This brings Armenia front and center in the mounting tensions between the US and Russia following the developments in Ukraine, which were compounded with the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. The US and Ukrainian officials are squarely blaming Moscow for the incident.
    VTB Bank and Gazprom were among companies named in the heightened sanctions announced this week by Europe and the US. The companies operate in Armenia under subsidiaries that control a significant portion of Armenia’s infrastructure. The sanctions also include the Russian oil company Rosneft, which has recently committed to a $400 million investment to rebuild the malfunctioning Nairit Rubber plant.
    According to RFE/RL, Armenian government officials did not comment on the US Embassy statement.
    On Wednesday, however, the VTB Bank-(Armenia) issued a statement saying the Western sanctions would not impact its business in Armenia.
    The Armenia-based bank said in a statement that it will continue providing the full range of services and respecting its obligations in all currencies, with which it works.
    “In connection with the U.S. sanctions announced against a number of Russian banks, including VTB, we inform that VTB Bank (Armenia) operates in a normal mode providing the full range of services regarding deposit and loan contracts, money transfer operations and payments made by use of bank cards, ” VTB Bank (Armenia) said.
    Hayastan or Bust.


    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      Karen Ghazaryan

      Presently, it is not an easy task to predict who will suffer more from
      the sanctions applied against Russia - Russia itself or the countries
      of the European Union, the economist Karlen Khachatryan thinks. During
      the last three years Russia's foreign income decreased for $70 billion
      and surely, this cannot go under the radar of Russia's economy.

      However, Russia did not make the West wait long for its counteraction.

      "The West tried to make a serious blow on Russia's economy and the
      latter reacted with no less strict action," the economist says.

      Karlen Khachatryan hesitated to predict how long this situation will
      last, however, through his assessment, the situation may last as long
      as the domestic resources of the countries allow solving certain
      problems. "The country, having faced constraints of resources will
      first make a compromise expecting the same from the opposite side".

      All this will, no doubt, affect our country as well, as Russia and EU
      Countries are the first and foremost trade-economic partners. "This
      effect will be visible already from September, and it will be of
      negative character - drop of transfers the majority of which flows to
      our country from Russia and EU and when there are economic problems
      these countries this will, now way, get around the course of incoming
      transfers to Armenia," Karlen Khachatryan said.

      On the other hand, the economic analyst believes that Armenia may also
      benefit from this situation taking into account the fact that Russian
      agricultural market will become empty and dismissed of competitors
      and Armenia can definitely fill in that gap.
      Hayastan or Bust.


      • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

        Georgia Today
        Aug 28 2014

        Armenian Gas Deal Draws Georgian Budget Concerns

        By Zaza Jgharkava

        A Georgian is investing $600 million in the Armenian economy, it has
        been revealed, as the media of Georgia's neighbors Armenia and
        Azerbaijan responded to Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili's visit to
        Yerevan. Later, this information was confirmed by the Georgian media
        as well. The goals of the agreement between the Armenian government
        and the Georgian company Anaklia IEP (Industrial Eco Park) Holding
        were announced by the Kakheti Information Center.

        The news has been perceived as sensational. Georgia, whose budget
        heavily depends on foreign investments, making such a large financial
        injection to a neighboring country's economy, instead of its own, has
        caused alarm

        Teimuraz Karchava, owner of 100% of shares of the holding told
        journalists about the project's details at the press club of Ria
        Novosti. The story of businessman Karchava is closely connected to
        Russia. Like other Georgian businessmen, Karchava accumulated his
        capital in Russia but not enough to afford an investment of $600
        million into another country's power industry. His interests -
        Moscow's VIP club "National", uniting a casino and a restaurant -
        would not bring him anywhere near that level of funds.

        Karchava comes to light in Georgia in 2008. According to the Public
        Registry, Karchava holds Georgia the following companies in: Anaklia
        Gas, Churia, Teka, Chateau Manavi, Anaklia Industrial Eko Park & Port,
        and Black Sea Port. Before 2008, the Georgian "Onassis" was detained.
        As the newspaper wrote in 2004, Karchava was arrested by
        the Moscow police for offering a bribe to the Finance Ministry worker
        Denis Mikhailov. After this criminal misadventure he returned to
        Georgia and started a new business life.

        According to Georgian news agency, Anaklia Port Ltd
        received the right to construct a transport knot in the Anaklia resort
        zone by the October 20, 2009 order no.732 of President Mikheil
        Saakashvili. According to the agreement, construction was to finish in
        2013 and a $5-6 billion investment was to be made. The project
        included construction of a sea port, railway and vehicle roads,
        railway and vehicle transportation infrastructure, energy and
        engineering services. However, its implemenatation did not materialize
        and the Ministry of Economy demanded $100 million from the businessman
        in October 2012 for violating investment terms.

        Karchava spoke about the reasons for this sensational investment at
        the briefing at the Ria Novosti press club. At first, the construction
        of this power station working on gas was planned for England; a $400
        million worth of machinery was already purchased from the General
        Electric Corporation. But high prices on natural gas in England
        thwarted these plans. Armenia was selected; the government of Armenia
        guarantees the provision of $1 billion cubic meters of gas per year
        for a lower price. In two months, machinery was brought from England
        to Armenia via cargo jets. The company Anaklia Energy established in
        Armenia will construct the gas power station and exploit it. In the
        process of construction and during the first five years of
        exploitation, the government of Armenia is exempting Anaklia Energy
        from taxes. The generated energy, almost all of it, which is 4 billion
        kwt/hr, will be exported. Karchava pointed out that power generated in
        Vanadzor will be used for implementing projects of Anaklia IEP
        Holding, which was established in Georgia with the participation of
        world famous companies: British Eco Power, China Power and Citik Group
        (Hong Kong).

        According to Karchava, for the construction and functioning of the
        Anaklia port, as well as for the implementation of other projects, 400
        megawatt energy will be needed. However, today Georgia's power system
        does not have the capacity to supply the project with the necessary
        amount of electricity. This is why it was decided to build a gas power
        station in Vanadzor. It will take 18 months to make it operational and
        in Georgia it would take 8 years to build a hydro power plant. "The
        Vanadzor gas power station is practically the first investment into
        building the Anaklia port," Karchava said.

        The ambitious plans of Karchava seem interesting at first glance;
        however, such a big investment in the neighboring country raises many
        questions, not to say anything about Karchava's British adventure. It
        is truly interesting especially at a time when Prime Minister
        Gharibashvili announced the construction of a new bridge at the border
        of Armenia and Georgia to have been the main achievement of his visit
        to Armenia. This $600 million investment was not raised. Armenia
        receives gas from Russia and Iran. For gas from Iran, Armenia has an
        obligation to use it only to operate the power plant, without the
        right to re-export, which should be returned back to Iran as

        Russian gas continues to flow to Armenia via Georgia and this raises
        the main question, why would the Anaklia IEP Holding need gas
        purchased from a second party, i.e. the Armenian government? As
        Karchava says, the Armenian government is promising advantageous tax
        terms to his holding. It appears that the Gharibashvili government
        cannot ensure such terms. Doubts are also raised about why Karchava
        prefers Armenian gas to its Azerbaijani alternative.

        Hayastan or Bust.


        • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          Armenia government employees’ monthly base salary will be about $160

          YEREVAN. – As of January 1, 2015, the monthly base salary of Armenia’s government employees will amount to 66,140 drams (approx. $160.33).

          The aforesaid is written in the 2015 State Budget Draft, which was introduced at Thursday’s Cabinet session.

          As always, the bonus funds of Armenia’s state agencies shall not exceed 10 percent of the salaries.

          The final salary is determined in consideration of the salary-increasing coefficients (position, seniority).

          According to the July 2014 results, the average monthly salary in Armenia’s public sector has amounted to 134,200 drams (approx. $325.31).
          Some news on salaries, I thought to be interesting
          Armenian colony of Glendale will conquer all of California!


          • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

            Top Foreign Investors to Armenia Is France and Argentina
            September 29, 2014 - 10:25am, by Giorgi Lomsadze Tamada Tales Armenia Economy Customs Union Russia Investment
            Many would guess Russia, but it is actually Argentina. Data on direct foreign investment shows that Argentina now ranks as the largest foreign spender in this South Caucasus country, better known for its politically prohibitive economic reliance on Moscow.

            The official stats, reported by Hetq Online, suggest that Armenia’s trade, development, and even foreign policy options may not be as limited as its long dependence on Russia may suggest.

            For years, Russia has been the single largest foreign investor in Armenia until France took over the title in 2012. A year later, Russia got pushed further down the list, below France and Argentina, which is now in the lead with just just under $118 million.

            One man could be behind the seemingly unlikely Armenian-Argentinian connection. The full detail of Argentina’s investment projects in Armenia is not readily available, but Argentinian billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian, an ethnic Armenian by descent, could be behind the hike.

            Argentina’s second richest man, Eurnekian is committed to turning Armenia into paradise on earth and has called on fellow members of the far-flung Armenian Diaspora to shoulder the task. The octogenarian airport and investment magnate has invested in upgrading and expanding Yerevan’s international airport, Zvartnots, and gifted an airplane to the new airport in Nagorno-Karabkh, the ethnic-Armenian-controlled breakaway territory.

            France, which also boasts a sizeable Armenian Diaspora, is now Armenia’s second largest investor, majoring mainly in real estate. Russia, which appears to have been scaling down its once-dominant investment in Armenia just as it coaxed Armenia into entering the Moscow-led Customs Union, ranks as number three, with $86.2 million.

            Yerevan motivated its choice last year of the Customs Union over the European Union by economic expediency – Russian companies, after all, invested in and control critical parts of the Armenian economy.

            But with Argentina and France as its biggest investors, and the European Union now its largest trade partner, the Armenian economy is not synonymous with Russia anymore. Armenia may still depend on Russia for peace and security, but the growing income diversity may give Yerevan a freer hand in foreign policy.

            Armenian colony of Glendale will conquer all of California!


            • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

              Originally posted by Chubs View Post
              I think what the author of this article clearly doesn't understand is that Armenia's choice to align with Russia was never based on economics, and was not exactly voluntary. It was largely made out of concern for security which hasn't changed. If one could separate the concepts of security from economy, I think Armenia would certainly chose a more diversified economy and an alignment with Europe. But that just isn't the case.

              Anyway, this man's work is impressive. Maybe he inspires some of the other wealthy people in our diaspora to chip in.
              <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


              • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                Revision Downwards: IMF further lowers Armenian growth forecast

                By Sara Khojoyan

                Citing challenges facing the country’s economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered Armenia’s GDP growth forecast from 4.3 to 2.6 percent.

                Mark Horton, the head of the IMF Armenia mission, said on Tuesday: “Armenia is facing a challenging period ahead with the developments in the region and with the uncertainties around the sanctions [against Russia].” He said the Armenian government should seek to offset the unfavorable external factors with major structural reforms implemented “as decisively as possible.”

                Remarkably, earlier, the world’s leading think tank, Moody's Investor Service, also lowered Armenia’s growth prediction for this year down to 2.1 percent, conditioning it by the Western sanctions against Russia that it said would also affect the Armenian economy.

                The Armenian government has also admitted the slowdown in economic growth, but its figures are far higher than those presented by international financial institutions. The country’s Central Bank, for example, at the beginning of the year forecast Armenia’s annual economic expansion at the level of 5.2 percent, but later lowered it to 3.9 percent, the government of Hovik Abrahamyan lowered it to 4 percent.

                The IMF representative said that the Armenian government continues to under-fulfill the state budget spending, which particularly affects large projects and has its impact on economic growth.

                According to Horton, uncertain terms of Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union create general uncertainty which also has an adverse effect on the private sector in Armenia.

                The head of the IMF mission said membership in the Russian-led bloc has more negative risks than positive expectations for Armenia, which is again due to the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, which, though, may prove not to be long-term ones.

                “Annually, Armenia may have an additional $150-200 million in customs revenues, which is quite a lot of money that the government should think about spending,” he said.

                Armenia is expected to sign a Eurasian Economic Union accession treaty on October 10.

                <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


                • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                  Haykakan Zhamanak: Armenia’s customs proceeds to increase after joining EaEU

                  According to the agreement on joining the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia will receive 1.13% of the total customs proceeds, Haykakan Zhamanak writes. From January 1, 2015, Russia will get 86.97%, Kazakhstan 7.25%, Belarus 4.65% and Armenia 1.13%. Preliminary estimates suggest that Armenia will receive about $150 million in 2015. This is a much larger sum than, for instance, the total sum of the customs duties collected at the Armenian border last year ($105 million), the newspaper says.

                  <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


                  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                    Originally posted by Mher View Post
                    Haykakan Zhamanak: Armenia’s customs proceeds to increase after joining EaEU

                    According to the agreement on joining the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia will receive 1.13% of the total customs proceeds, Haykakan Zhamanak writes. From January 1, 2015, Russia will get 86.97%, Kazakhstan 7.25%, Belarus 4.65% and Armenia 1.13%. Preliminary estimates suggest that Armenia will receive about $150 million in 2015. This is a much larger sum than, for instance, the total sum of the customs duties collected at the Armenian border last year ($105 million), the newspaper says.

                    What will the overall affects of the EEU integration include?
                    Armenian colony of Glendale will conquer all of California!


                    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                      Originally posted by Chubs View Post
                      What will the overall affects of the EEU integration include?
                      The problem is nobody really knows for sure. There hasn't been any comprehensive report or analysis done on the overall expected economic effects of joining the Eurasian Union. There are some potential positives and negatives, but it is a an unknown overall. Armenia got strongarmed into the union and we can't really know until we have joined.

                      I don't see a whole lot of positives from joining, specially now that the Russian economy is in real trouble. On the flip side, the European Union isn't looking much greener. Armenia wasn't going to be able to join for a long time anyway, and the EU has its own trouble. Ideally, a wait and see approach would have been the best imo, not diving into either one. That way you didn't tick of Russia, and just maybe Putin wouldn't have forced Armenia into the Eurasian Union. Which would have meant Armenia would have been able to make a better choice down the line, and perhaps have had more leverage against Russia. but it's a bit late for that.
                      <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>