Export growth amid a decline in imports reduced the negative balance of Armenia’s foreign trade in the first quarter of 2020 by 13.4% per annum, compared with an increase of 5.2% a year earlier.
Thus, in the first quarter of 2020, the annual export rate unfolded in the direction of 0.2% growth from the 8.6% decline a year earlier, while the import accelerated the decline from 3.1% to 6.2%.
Against this background, economic activity in the country slowed down annual growth in the I quarter of 2020 to 4%, in March it decreased by 0.2%, and compared to March 2019 it sank 4.9%, against the growth of a year ago, respectively, by 6.5% , 14.8% and 6.2%.
According to preliminary data of the Statistical Committee of Armenia, the foreign trade turnover of Armenia in the I quarter of 2020 amounted to 753.9 billion drams ($ 1565.1 million), in particular export – 262.4 billion drams ($ 544.9 million), import –
491.5 billion drams ($ 1020.2 million), which formed a negative balance of foreign trade at the level of 229.1 billion drams ($ 475.3 million).
In March 2020 alone, foreign trade turnover decreased by 7.9% due to a decline in exports by 13.3% and imports by 4.9%. As a result, the negative balance of Armenia’s foreign trade grew in March 2020. by 6.5% (against 10% growth in March 2019), amounting to 86.4 billion drams ($ 177.4 million).
In annual terms (March 2020 to March 2019), the decline in foreign trade by 16% was due to a decrease in both exports by 17.4% and imports by 15.3%, while a year earlier in the same period (March 2019 to March 2018) there was a decline in foreign trade turnover by 0.4% provoked by a decrease in exports by 2.5% with a meager increase in imports by 0.8%. The negative balance of foreign trade of Armenia decreased in March 2020 compared to March 2019 by 13.1%, compared to an increase of 5% a year earlier.
The average settlement rate of AMD in March 2020 was 489.01 dr / $ 1, and in January-March – 482.32 dr / $ 1, against 487.48 dr / $ 1 in March 2019 and 487.23 dr / $ 1- in January-March 2019
It should be noted that the World Bank predicts in Armenia’s foreign trade for 2020 a decline in exports and imports by 1.5% and 2.6%, respectively. According to the forecast of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia, in 2020, imports will decrease by 9-11% (against the actual growth in 2019 by 9.1%), and exports – by 5-7% (against the actual growth in 2019 by 10.3%), which will have a negative impact on real GDP, which is expected to slow down to stagnant 0.7% (from the actual 7.6% growth in 2019).
Recall that in Armenia, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a state of emergency was introduced from March 16, which will last until May 14 inclusive.
In this regard, some activities in the first month of emergency were imposed a temporary ban, which was partially lifted in the second half of April.