Sharp decline registered in Armenia metallurgical sector Sharp decline registered in Armenia metallurgical sector
/Jan 4/

For 11 months of 2018, a decline of 22.6% was registered in the metallurgical sector of Armenia, State Statistics Committee reported.

In the same period of 2017, production in this field grew by 11.4%.

WB: 4.3% economic growth expected in Armenia in 2019
/Jan 9/ARKA/

YEREVAN – The World Bank, in its January report “Global Economic Prospects: Darkening Skies”, predicts 5.3 percent GDP growth to Armenia for 2018 and 4.6 percent growth for 2019. 
According to the WB outlook, GDP will grow 4.6 percent in Armenia in 2020. 
In the 2018 government budget, GDP growth was projected at 4.5% and in the 2019 government budget it is planned at 4.9%. 
The World Bank also predicts 5% GDP growth to Georgia, 3.6% to Azerbaijan, 3.8% to Moldova, 3.5% to Kazakhstan, 3.4% to Kyrgyzstan, 2.7% to Belarus, 2.9% to Ukraine and 1.5% to Russia for 2019. 
According to the report, the ongoing consequences of financial shocks in Turkey will have adverse impacts on the pace of economic growth in Europe and Central Asia – it will slow down to 2.3% in 2019. 
In the western part of the region, excluding Turkey, economic growth will slow down. The eastern part of the region will face slowdown as well because of economic growth slowdown in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. 
The World Bank has revised its global GDP growth outlook for 2019 0.1 percentage point downward. 
In its semi-annual “Global Economic Prospects” report, the World Bank says global economic growth is projected to soften from a downwardly revised 3 percent in 2018 to 2.9 percent in 2019 amid rising downside risks to the outlook.

Global Economy to slow to 2.9 percent in 2019 as trade, investment weaken – World Bank says in fresh report
/Jan 9/

YEREVAN – Global economic growth is expected to slow to 2.9 percent in 2019, the World Bank said in its Global Economic Prospects January report.

International trade and investment are moderating, trade tensions remain elevated, and financing conditions are tightening, according to the report.

Amid recent episodes of financial stress, growth in emerging market and developing economies has lost momentum and is projected to stall at 4.2 percent this year, with a weaker-than-expected rebound in commodity exporters accompanied by deceleration in commodity importers. Downside risks have become more acute. Financial market pressures and trade tensions could escalate, denting global activity.

Global economic growth is projected to soften from a downwardly revised 3 percent in 2018 to 2.9 percent in 2019 amid rising downside risks to the outlook, the World Bank said on Tuesday. International trade and manufacturing activity have softened, trade tensions remain elevated, and some large emerging markets have experienced substantial financial market pressures.

Growth among advanced economies is forecast to drop to 2 percent this year, the January 2019 Global Economic Prospects says. Slowing external demand, rising borrowing costs, and persistent policy uncertainties are expected to weigh on the outlook for emerging market and developing economies. Growth for this group is anticipated to hold steady at a weaker-than-expected 4.2 percent this year.

“At the beginning of 2018 the global economy was firing on all cylinders, but it lost speed during the year and the ride could get even bumpier in the year ahead”, said World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva. “As economic and financial headwinds intensify for emerging and developing countries, the world’s progress in reducing extreme poverty could be jeopardized. To keep the momentum, countries need to invest in people, foster inclusive growth, and build resilient societies.”

Government allocates nearly 4,000,000,000 drams for more than 200 priority projects in provinces
/Jan 9/

YEREVAN – The government continues restoration and improvement of priority problems related to water supply, irrigation water systems, education, culture, healthcare, road construction, housing, agricultural equipment and other fields in provinces of Armenia.

The works are coordinated by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development.

In 2018, the government allocated from its reserve fund 3 billion 975 million drams to the Territorial Development Foundation of Armenia and provincial authorities for the implementation of 216 different projects. The deadline for the projects is December 20, 2019.

Armenia will ban import of right-hand vehicles from April 1, 2019
/Jan 10/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Armenia’s acting Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology Hakob Arshakyan told reporters today that the government will no longer make concessions to the importers of right-hand vehicles and will ban their import from April 1, 2019.

On March 1, 2018, the Armenian parliament passed a bill banning the import and sale of vehicles with right-hand steering wheels until October 1, 2018; however, the move had sparked a series of protests in Yerevan by owners of cars with right-hand steering wheels. The government made a major concession to the protesters allowing them to continue using or reselling heir cars in Armenia while maintaining the ban on car imports. 
On December 6, 2018 the government of Armenia approved a new decision allowing the import and sale of vehicles with right-hand steering wheels. The decision will be effective until March 1, 2019. The decision applies to those citizens who were not allowed to bring in their cars after October 1. As a result their owners had to keep them at the border and pay money for it.
According to the ministry, the owners of right-hand drive cars will be given six months to have the steering wheels of their cars changed to the left side and adapted to the traffic rules. 
According to some estimates, there are about 40,000 cars with right-hand drive in Armenia. Most of them are cheap second-hand vehicles manufactured in Japan. -0-

Food prices in Armenia grew by 3.8 percent from November
/Jan 10/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Prices of foods and non-alcoholic beverages in Armenia in December 2018 increased by 3.8% when compared with the previous month, the National Statistical Committee (NSC) said. It said the rise was driven by an increase in the prices for vegetables and fruits.
Vegetable prices in December 2018 when compared to December 2017, were said to have grown by 6.3%, but when compared to 2018 November the growth amounted to  25.2%. The prices of fruits went up by 10% in 2018. Compared with 2018 November in 2018 December they were up by 12.5%.
Meat products in December 2018 went up by 8.2% year-on-year, and by 0.7% when compared to 2018 November. Fish products in December 2018 went up by 5.4% year-on-year, by fell by 0.4% as opposed to 2018 November.
The prices of butter and fats in December 2018 increased by 3.1% year-on-year, and by 0.6% against November 2018. Prices of cheese and eggs decreased by 2.3% year-on-year and grew by 0.4% from November 2018. 
According to the National Statistics Committee, in December 2018 consumer prices increased by 1.8% when compared to December 2017.

Forecast: In 2019, Nikol Pashinyan has to prove that he appeared at the top of the government not by chance
/Jan 10/Arminfo/David Stepanyan/

In 2019, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will have to prove that he has appeared at the top of power in Armenia not by chance, Russian analyst Sergey Markedonov expressed this opinion to ArmInfo.   "The high status and degree of self-sufficiency gained by Pashinyan following the results of last year's December early parliamentary elections can create for him both new opportunities and dangerous temptations. The Armenian Prime Minister will have to demonstrate of  head of state and prove his own ability to implement core systematic  reforms and changes in Armenia. Otherwise, dissatisfaction with him will only increase, "he is convinced.  The analyst considers the development and launch of an economic program real and understandable to society as one of the most acute tasks to be resolved by Pashinyan. At the same time, he does not exclude that in case of growth of problems caused by the parliamentary system, the head of state can launch another reform of the Constitution. Especially, considering that Pashinyan has already mentioned this possibility.

The analyst also pointed at the importance of developing a competent foreign policy by the new Armenian authority, especially in conditions of a longstanding unresolved conflict that Armenia faces.   Considering the recent resignations in the military-political leadership of the NKR not coincidental, Markedonov sees them in the light of Pashinyan's desire to gain greater control over Stepanakert.  He considers this issue to be one of the priorities of the new Armenian government.  At the same time according to Markedonov, all the risks existing around Armenia and the region as a whole, have not disappeared. In this light, in particular, the analyst points to a significant activation of the USA in the region, which is very important against the background of increasing tensions in the Middle East and the consistent deterioration of US relations with Russia and Iran.  And there is plenty of conflict in the South Caucasus and in the Middle East to unleash the accumulated tension. The Line of Contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in his opinion, is no exception. 

Goal of optimization is not to save money, but to increase effectiveness of public administration bodies
/Jan 10/

YEREVAN – During the election campaign My Step alliance promised to change the government’s staff, composition, cut the number of ministries, and the government should steadily move on this path, Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said during today’s Cabinet session, reports Armenpress.

“This process doesn’t mean saving money at all, its goal is much more important – to raise the effectiveness of the public administration bodies. And we really must carry out serious works for this purpose”, Pashinyan said.

He informed that a number of discussions in different formats were held in the government, and others as well will be held in the future. “Of course, we are confident that we must move on this path, and in fact, we have received the citizens’ mandate. During this period, we will listen to all opinions on possible configurations and will make a more balanced decision”, Nikol Pashinyan said.

Defense Ministry to introduce preferential mortgage system for military officer
/Jan 10/

YEREVAN – The Ministry of Defence has introduced a bill into circulation that defines the process of preferential and affordable mortgage crediting for officers of the Armenian military. The bill is posted on the e-draft online legislation platform.

The preferential program is a 20-year term, 7% annual interest rate mortgage offer, where 10% prepayment of the apartment’s cost is paid by the government and 3% of the interest rate is subsidized. In addition, if the apartment is acquired directly from the construction agency beneficiaries are entitled to also pay the remaining 4% through the revenue tax returns.

Government, Central Bank managed to solve the task: 2018 inflation comprised 1.8% – Pashinyan
/Jan 10/

YEREVAN – Inflation in Armenia comprised 1.8% in 2018, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Facebook, reports Armenpress.

“Contrary to the predictions according to which 3%, even 3.5-4% inflation will be recorded in 2018, the inflation in 2018 comprised 1.8%. Of course, the behavior of inflation was concerning for a moment, but the government and the Central Bank managed to reach the solution of the set task, the task of restraining the inflation”, Pashinyan said.