Armenia’s economy will grow by more than 6 percent this year after stagnating in 2016, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Thursday.
A senior Armenian government official forecast even faster economic growth earlier in the day.
“Only ten days remain until the end of the year, so let’s wait and see [macroeconomic data,]” Deputy Minister for Economic Development Tigran Khachatrian told reporters. “A growth rate exceeding 7 percent is likely.”
Speaking after a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan, Khachatrian said growth is driven by upswings in manufacturing, trade and other services as well as rising exports.
“I don’t want to make predictions but think that we are going to have economic growth of more than 6 percent,” Sarkisian told leading Armenian businesspeople at a traditional year-end reception held in the presidential palace in Yerevan.
The Armenian government forecast a 3.2 percent growth rate for 2017 a year ago. Official statistics showed the country’s Gross Domestic Product increasing by around 5 percent in the first half of this year on the back of a double-digit rise in industrial output.
Finance Minister Vartan Aramian said in September that full-year growth will likely come in at 4.3 percent.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Prime Minister Karen Karapetian said the domestic economy will expand even faster but gave no numbers
Both Sarkisian and Karapetian also touted a 23.5 percent rise in Armenian exports which they said passed the record-high $2 billion mark in January-November 2017. “We have never had such an indicator,” the president said.
“For the first time in a fairly long time, our dear Armenian dram is not feeling any [downward] pressure in December and is on the contrary trying to gain ground,” he added.
In its most recent World Economic Outlook released in October, the International Monetary Fund said that Armenian growth will reach 3.5 percent this year. The IMF forecast a 3 percent growth rate in June.
For its part, the international rating agency Fitch revised its 2017 growth projection for Armenia from 3.4 percent to 4.3 percent last week. “The economy is experiencing a strong recovery following a large external shock in 2014-15, driven by a structural improvement in export performance, firmer external demand conditions and recovering remittances, and supported by a credible monetary policy framework,” it said.
Fitch also upgraded Armenia’s economic outlook from “stable” to “positive” and gave the country a “B+” credit rating.
According to official statistics, the Armenian economy grew by only 0.2 percent last year not least because of a recession in Russia, Armenia’s leading trading partner and main source of migrant worker remittances. Russia has posted modest growth this year.