28 Sep 2009 15:27

Armenian GDP to shrink 15% in 2009 - Finance Ministry

YEREVAN. Sept 28 (Interfax) - Armenia's GDP will contract by 15% at a minimum in 2009, to 3.176 trillion drams, Finance Minister Tigran Davtyan said at a government session on Monday.

The year has been a difficult one for Armenia as the economy has been buffeted by the global financial crisis, Davtyan said.

The decline peaked in August, but has begun to slow since. GDP shrank 18.5% in the first seven months of the year, he said.

Tax revenue in 2009 is expected to total 510 billion-530 billion drams compared with target of 727 billion dram. Spending was targeted at 945 billion dram this year, but will actually amount to 900 billion-910 billion drams.

In order to compensate the revenue shortfall, the government will have to raise loans from international financial institutions, Davtyan said. All of the priority budget items will be financed, including social spending and state administration, he said.

The budget deficit in 2009 will not exceed 7% of GDP, he said.

Armenia's 2009 budget assumes GDP growth of 9.2%. Revenue is targeted at 905.4 billion dram and spending at 945.4 billion drams. The budget deficit was to equal 40 billion dram or 0.95% of GDP. In June the national Assembly approved amendments to the budget raising the deficit ceiling to 7.5% of GDP.

The official exchange rate on September 25 was 438.88 drams/$1.