The government continues to expect Armenia’s economy to expand by over 6 percent this year despite slower growth forecast by the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Vache Gabrielian said on Tuesday.
The government forecast a GDP growth of at least 6.2 percent in its budget bill passed by parliament last December. President Serzh Sarkisian said recently that it should make sure that the growth rate does not fall below 7 percent in the next five years.
The IMF called these targets into question in its latest World Economic Outlook released this month. It said economic growth in Armenia will slow down to 4.3 percent in 2013 because of “a return to more normal weather conditions, a slowdown in credit expansion, and a continuation of fiscal consolidation.”
Gabrielian did not rule out such possibility. But he also said, “We are still sticking to the 6.2 percent target because we continue to believe that …we can slightly exceed that [IMF forecast.]”
“Right now an IMF mission is visiting Armenia, and we are discussing this as well,” Gabrielian told journalists. Asked whether the government could revise its growth targets as a result, he said, “It may revise them downward and it may revise them upward. Everything is possible during revisions.”
According to official statistics, the Armenian economy grew by 7.2 percent last year, its strongest performance since the 2009 recession.
Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian declared over the weekend that economic growth actually accelerated to 11.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013. He said the manufacturing and services sectors were the main driving force behind that growth.
Armenia’s National Statistical Service (NSS) has reported no growth data for 2013 yet.