Armenian Central Bank Sanguine about Global Crisis

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on Friday echoed government assurances that the global financial crisis will not spill over into the Armenian banking sector.

Artur Javadian told President Serzh Sarkisian that Armenian banks continue to be trusted by the population and have sufficient capital to avoid major losses. “The CBA assured that Armenia has sufficient potential to cope with and prevent crises,” Sarkisian’s press service said in a statement.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, who headed the CBA until last April, said on Thursday that the crisis poses no immediate threat to Armenia’s banking sector because “the reliability of our financial sector is extremely high.” Sargsyan cautioned at the same time that the crisis could ultimately hurt the Armenian economy if it hits the European Union and Russia, Armenia’s main trading partners, harder.

Javadian was reported to tell Sargsyan that the CBA devised three contingency plans of “pre-emptive measures.” With the presidential office giving no details, it was not clear if those measures are in tune with steps suggested by Armenia’s main opposition alliance earlier this week.

Sargsyan instructed the CBA chief to brief him on “developmen’s in the international markets” on a weekly basis.

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