By Atom Markarian
The increase in Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) somewhat slowed in January but was still a respectable 7.7 percent, making it the fastest growing economy in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Figures released by the CIS Interstate Statistics Committee put the GDP growth in neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan 4.5 percent and 3 percent up from the January 2001 level. The Russian economy expanded by 3 percent during the period in question.
The Armenian growth hit a record-high rate of 9.6 percent last year, according to official statistical data. But it failed to have a tangible impact on low living standards due to a host of factors. President Robert Kocharian said earlier this week that the robust growth can be maintained in the next “two or three years,” in which case the country’s economic difficulties will ease “substantially.”
But the World Bank concluded in a recent report that the growth rate is unlikely to exceed six percent in 2002 and 2003.
Official figures showed Armenia’s January industrial output increasing by 7.1 percent compared to the same period last year. The country also boasted the lowest year-on-year inflation in the CIS zone as of the end of January. Its consumer price index was only 0.5 percent higher than in end-January 2001.