Kerobian estimated that the country’s exports and imports as well as domestic consumption were down by a combined 20 percent. He gave no further macroeconomic data.
The Armenian government’s Statistical Committee reported last month that the volume of trade and services plunged by more than 13 percent in January-November 2020.
The committee has not yet released a full-year GDP growth figure. It reported earlier that the Armenian economy contracted by 14 percent in the second quarter and by over 9 percent in the third quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Central Bank of Armenia forecast in mid-September a full-year GDP decline 6.2 percent. The economic situation in the country worsened further following the ensuing outbreak of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10.
“My optimism regarding the economy hasn’t changed,” Kerobian told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Yerevan. “Double-digit economic growth remains my target.”
Kerobian, who was appointed as minister in late November, did not specify when he thinks Armenia can achieve such growth.
Speaking during the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said: “I want to wish us success so that we can properly fulfill our duties in this difficult period and get the country out of the crisis. To this end we need to make special efforts.”
In its 2021 state budget approved by the Armenian parliament, Pashinian’s government projected a GDP growth rate of 3.2 percent for this year.
The International Monetary Fund expects the Armenian economy to expand by only 1 percent in 2021. The IMF said last month that the country’s growth prospects are “contingent upon the anticipated global recovery and domestic reform implementation.”