21 Jul 2009 14:50

Armenian GDP shrinks by 16.3% in H1

YEREVAN. July 21 (Interfax) - Armenia's GDP in January-June 2009 shrank, according to preliminary statistics, by 16.3% year-on-year to 1.119 trillion dram, or $3.2 billion, the National Statistics Service said.

The decline was largely driven by a decrease in total construction by 53.5% to 125 billion dram. The drop in the agriculture sector came to 2.5% at 123.5 billion dram, manufacturing - 281.5 billion dram (down 11.5%), electricity output - 2.788 billion kilowatt hours (down 10.6%) and services to the population - 340 billion dram (up 0.9%).

Armenia's foreign trade in the first half dropped by 31.5% year-on-year to $1.6599 billion, or 578.8 billion dram. Exports fell by 45.9% to $281.1 million while imports decreased by 27.5% to $1.379 billion.

It was earlier reported that that, in May of this year, the Central Bank of Armenia forecast that the country's economy would decline by 5.8% in 2009. At the start of June, the deputy chair of the Central Bank, Vache Gabrielyan, produced a renewed GDP forecast that put the decrease at 7%-8%. At the end of June, the IMF increased its GDP decline forecast from 5% to 9.5%.

Official rate of the dram on July 21 - 365.55 dram/$1.