Armenian Government Readjusts Economic Outlook

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Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia’s economy will likely contract by 12 percent this year and resume positive growth next year, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said on Wednesday, presenting his government’s latest economic outlook.

The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrunk by 16.3 percent in the first half of the year amid a deepening fallout from the global recession. Sarkisian warned last month that its full-year contraction could hit a 20 percent rate.

Sargsyan sounded more optimistic on Wednesday, saying that anti-crisis measures taken by the Armenian government should result in a GDP decrease of 12 percent in 2009. “A recovery cycle will start at the end of the year,” he told journalists during a visit to the southeastern Vayots Dzor region. “This is our tentative forecast.”

The premier said the government also expects the Armenian economy to grow by a modest 1 percent in 2010. “We are going to base the state budget for 2010 on this indicator,” he said.

In an effort to cope with the consequences of the recession, the government has already obtained more than $1 billion in external loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Russia. The money is to be used for financing infrastructure projects, providing cheaper credit to Armenian businesses and maintaining the value of the national currency, the dram.

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