The Armenian government stood by its economic growth projections for next year on Thursday after a significant worsening of Russia’s economic outlook acknowledged by the authorities in Moscow.
Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian said the government continues to anticipate that the Armenian economy will grow by 4.1 percent in 2015 despite a recession expected in Russia.
The Russian Ministry of Economy said on Tuesday that the domestic economy is likely to contract by 0.8 percent in 2015. The ministry had earlier forecast an economic growth rate of 1.2 percent.
Asked by journalists whether this means that Armenia too risks sliding into recession given its economic dependence on Russia, Chshmaritian said: “I don’t think so.” He argued that Russia accounts for less than a quarter of Armenian foreign trade.
Chshmaritian gave similar assurances last month. But he admitted at the same time that the Armenian government is making contingency plans for possible greater spillover effects of Russia’s economic troubles.
The Armenian currency, the dram, has since lost over 6 percent of its value against the dollar amid falling cash inflows from Armenian migrant workers in Russia. The Russian ruble has depreciated by more than half this year.
The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) reiterated on Thursday that it has sufficient hard currency reserves to prevent “artificial fluctuations” of the dram’s exchange rate. Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, the bank’s deputy governor, Nerses Yeritsian, also said that the rate may only undergo minor “adjustments” due to “external shocks.”
The deteriorating economic situation in Russia has already led the International Monetary Fund to lower its 2014 growth forecast for the Armenian economy to 2.6 percent. As recently as this summer, the Armenian government said that Gross Domestic Product will increase by 4 percent this year.