The Armenian economy grew by at least 7.5 percent last year, Economy Minister Tigran Khachatrian insisted on Tuesday.
“Although the full-year indicators of Gross Domestic Product have not yet been summarized we can already say that we will have a growth rate of at least 7.5 percent,” he told a news conference.
Government data cited by Khachatrian shows the financial and other services sector expanding by almost 15 percent in the first 11 months of 2019. The government’s Statistical Committee also recorded more than 9 percent increases in trade and industrial output in that period.
Armenia’s GDP has increased robustly in real terms since 2017 after years of sluggish growth that followed the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. GDP growth reached 7.5 percent in 2017 but slowed to 5.2 percent in 2018, which saw a dramatic regime change in the country. Khachatrian said last month that it will accelerate to at least 7.5 percent in 2019.
The International Monetary Fund also forecast faster growth in the country. “For this year we project growth to be at around 6.5-7 percent,” the IMF’s resident representative in Yerevan, Yulia Ustyugova, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service in November.
Ustyugova cautioned that this growth is largely driven by private consumption, rather than rising investments or exports. “The challenge remains how to generate sustainable, long-term growth that is driven by investment and exports, rather than consumption,” she said.
In its latest Global Economic Prospects report released last week, the World Bank said the Armenian economy will grow by 5.1 percent this year and slightly faster in 2021 and 2022. The bank estimated Armenia’s 2019 growth at 6.9 percent, sharply up from 4.2 percent projected by it in June.