“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the Armenian government and the Central Bank are going to great lengths to artificially maintain the exchange of the national currency, the dram. “The Central Bank continues to pour dollars into the market to meet demand in hard currency,” says the paper. It argues that Armenia’s hard currency reserves shrunk by $168 million in January-November 2008. The paper concludes that the authorities’ exchange rate policy is designed to benefit large-scale commodity importers.
“Pakagits” anticipates a “very noticeable” decline in Armenians’ purchasing power in the months to come. The paper says that because of the global economic crisis fewer people will go to Russia for seasonal work. All this, it says, will lead to “a great deal of tension in the society.”
“Kapital” comments on the government’s efforts to encourage greater use of cash registers and thereby reduce tax evasion with upcoming lotteries of shopping receipts issued by retailers. The paper says many shops in Yerevan are reluctant to give buyers such receipts. “Not everyone is in a mood to take time and trouble to demand a receipt from sales assistants,” it says. “A lot depends on the upcoming lottery draws. Many citizens are indifferent to getting winning tickets right now simply because they don’t trust in the objectivity of the draws.”
Lragir.am predicts a “difficult year” for Armenia, saying that the country is beginning to cope with the global crisis with serious unresolved political problems. The online publication sees no government plants to implement “serious and real reforms.”