ARMENPRESS sums up key economic events of 2017
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS. Starting from the formation of new government up to investments, signing of Armenia-EU agreement, high economic activity index: 2017 was full of numerous economic events.
ARMENPRESS has identified the most important economic events and the macro-economic indicators of 2017.
Armenia-UAE Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi
The Armenia-United Arab Emirates Investment Forum was held in Abu Dhabi in spring with the participation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The Forum aimed at boosting the economic ties between Armenia and the Arab states, as well as the contacts between the businessmen. Presentations on agriculture, animal husbandry, energy, healthcare, pharmaceutics, IT, tourism were held, the successful stories of foreign companies in Armenia, as well as a number of investment programs were presented.
As a result a memorandum of understanding on investments worth 100 million USD was signed between Armenia’s ministry of energy infrastructures and natural resources and UAE Ocean Holding LLC. The Ocean Holding LLC aims at directing investments for construction and operation of solar power plants in Armenia by using the best technologies available in the field.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s official visit to Armenia and the session of Eurasian Inter-governmental Council in Yerevan
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who arrived in Armenia to participate in the session of the Eurasian Inter-governmental Council, announced that the line of economic difficulties between Armenia and Russia is overcome, and the trade turnover is being restored. At the meeting with reporters the Russian PM said Russia will keep the special gas tariff for Armenia in 2018.
The session of the Eurasian Inter-governmental Council was held in Yerevan with the participation of the heads of government of the EAEU member states. The PMs reached an agreement on the program of forming a single oil market, and the works over gas will continue.
In early 2017 the Investors Club of Armenia officially launched with the participation of the Armenian PM Karen Karapetyan and more than 3 dozen businessmen of the Armenian Diaspora of Russia. In autumn the Tashir Group of Companies announced about the plans to make more than 1 billion USD investment in Armenia’s energy field in the upcoming years together with the Investors Club of Armenia and international financial organizations. 900 million USD from the investments will be directed for the reconstruction of energy infrastructures and installation of energy audit devices, 200 million USD will be used for the construction of Shnogh hydropower plant.
Presentation of third series banknotes sketches
On November 22, on the occasion of the Day of Armenia’s National Currency, the Central Bank presented the sketches of third series banknotes to be issued in 2018. The banknotes will feature poet Paruyr Sevak (1000 AMD), chess grandmaster Tigran Petrosyan (2000 AMD), writer and dramatist William Saroyan (5000 AMD), composer Komitas (10,000 AMD), painter Ivan Aivazovsky (20,000 AMD), and Saint Gregory the Illuminator (50,000 AMD). The printing will be conducted by Giesecke & Devrient company. The banknotes will be put into circulation on November 22, 2018 on the 25th anniversary of the national currency.
On November 24 Armenia and the European Union signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement in Brussels. The sides expressed commitment to strengthen the comprehensive political and economic partnership and cooperation based on common values and close ties. According to specialists, the agreement will directly contribute to economic growth and job creation in Armenia.
At the end of the year the Meghri Free Economic Zone launched its activity with the participation of Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. The total cost of the construction of the Meghri FEZ is 32 million USD from which 28 million USD are capital expenditures. During the FEZ activity it is planned to attract 50-70 operating companies which will make nearly 100-130 million USD investments, will create about 1500 jobs and will export goods and services worth 250 million USD. The companies operating in the FEZ will be exempt from profit tax, VAT, excise tax and customs duties, paying only the income tax.
Macro-economic indicators and monetary-loan policy
7.3% economic activity growth was recorded in the 11 months of 2017. The export for the first time exceeded 2 billion USD. In January-November a double-digit growth was recorded in the services field (14.2%), trade turnover (14.4%), industrial production volume (12.3%), external trade turnover (26.4%), export (23.5%) and import (28%).
Finance minister Vardan Aramyan told reporters that the economic situation in 2017 was good than expected. He expressed confidence that by the end of the year the real growth will be in 5.5-6%. Under the 2017 budget the GDP growth was expected to be 3.2%, but during the year the government revised the prediction for the economic growth, reaching it to 4.3%, and it predicts 4.5% economic growth for 2018.
In 2017 the Central Bank continued conducting a promoting policy. Since 2015 the refinancing rate was reduced 12 times, and at the moment it is 6%.