Economic growth in Armenia has accelerated in recent months and is now on track to reach a target rate of 4.6 percent projected by the authorities in Yerevan, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said on Thursday.
The most recent growth data released by the Armenian government is for the first quarter of this year. Its shows the country’s Gross Domestic Product increasing by only 1.2 percent year on year.
Citing estimates by government “experts,” Sarkisian said the growth rate made up 4.5 percent in January-August. “This means that our [macroeconomic] program for 2011 is a totally realistic program,” he told government ministers during a weekly session of his cabinet.
Sarkisian cited manufacturing and agriculture as key factors behind this performance.
According to the National Statistical Service (NSS), Armenia’s aggregate industrial output rose by 12.8 percent in the first half of 2011, helped by the strong performance of the domestic mining and metallurgical sectors. The latter have greatly benefited from increased international prices of base metals, the country’s single most important export.
The NSS data also shows that the Armenian agricultural sector expanded by 2.3 percent in the first half following a more than 14 percent decline last year. The slump slowed down overall economic growth to 2.6 percent in 2010.
The NSS also reported last month a 6.6 percent first-half fall in construction. The construction sector, the main engine of Armenia’s double-digit growth in 2001-2007, is still reeling from the 2009 global recession.
Sarkisian downplayed the drop, arguing that the economy is no longer heavily dependent on construction. “The share of construction in GDP has shrunk by half,” he said. “On the other hand, there has been a diversification of our economy, which is reducing fluctuation risks in terms of economic growth.”
“That is, we are not risking the kind of unprecedented decline that we had in 2009,” added the prime minister.
The Armenian economy contracted by more than 14 percent in 2009.