The Armenian government’s Statistical Committee registered the sharpest gains in trade and other services that generated more than half of the country’ GDP worth almost 8.5 trillion drams ($21 billion). The services sector excluding trade alone expanded by over 28 percent, according to it.
By comparison, Armenian industrial output grew by about 8 percent while agricultural production was flat in 2022.
Armenia was initially expected to be hit hard by the barrage of sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and other Western powers on Russia, the South Caucasus nation’s leading trading partner, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russian-Armenian trade fell in March but recovered strongly in the following months as the Russian economy proved more resilient than expected. It almost doubled to $4.4 billion in January-November 2022, accounting for more than one-third of Armenia’s overall foreign trade.
Armenian exports to Russia nearly tripled to just over $2 billion in the eleven-month period. They most probably included goods manufactured in third countries and re-exported from Armenia to Russia as a consequence of the Western sanctions.
According to the Armenian Central Bank, individual remittances from Russia to Armenia quadrupled to almost $3.2 billion in January-November 2022. Much of that money is thought to have been deposited in local banks by tens of thousands of Russians who relocated to the South Caucasus country after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
Visiting Yerevan in October, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov described Armenia as “one of the beneficiaries of the resetting of Russia’s economy and flows of goods and services” resulting from the sanctions. His then Armenian counterpart, Tigran Khachatrian, acknowledged Russian money’s “significant positive impact on our current economic activity.”
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin praised the surge in bilateral trade when they met in Kazakhstan early this month. Mishustin suggested that Armenia can take even greater advantage of an exodus of Western companies from Russia.