Posted 07 June 2001 - 05:47 AM
Yes. You are right about this. But I don't think it can or should happen in Armenia.
Talking about Armintel's 90% ownership. May be it is important as well for some security reason's to keep the majority of shares governmental. Armintel is the monopolist. And there is no way to compete for other companies. If government had kept its majority it could at least regulate prices and policies in strategic areas of the national telecom market.
I think everybody agrees that serious/criminal mistakes have taken place when privatizing ArmeniTel.
Posted 07 June 2001 - 07:15 AM
Are there any serious accusations or investigations? This whole "ArmeniTel" story just makes me furious. So damn irresponsible and criminal. I hear many armenians saying that they are paying "dragon-style" bills and no quality improved. ArmeniTel was a moneylaundrying I guess. When and who did take the privatization decesion. And how many foreign companies are there. Got any idea? MJ, you are my undercover armenian link ...
[ June 07, 2001: Message edited by: naira ]
Posted 07 June 2001 - 07:17 AM
[ June 07, 2001: Message edited by: naira ]
Posted 07 June 2001 - 07:24 AM
What kind of underground source may I be, if you just revealed it?
Posted 07 June 2001 - 07:35 AM
Originally posted by MJ:
The only thing that I know is that a former minister (Boghbadyan) has been jailed. Don't know any other details.
What kind of underground source may I be, if you just revealed it?
Not fear, honey!
No one knows all of yo indentities.
Besides noone seriously cares about it.
Do you think someone reads our threads...
Posted 07 June 2001 - 07:56 AM
Originally posted by MJ:
No multiple identities, here.
I do care.
LOL... This was really funny!
Posted 16 March 2007 - 03:55 PM
Latvia struggles with currency weakness
Lat's movement has implications for emerging market currencies
By Wanfeng Zhou, MarketWatch
Last Update: 2:04 PM ET Mar 16, 2007
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- A year ago, a sell-off in the currency of Iceland, a North Atlantic island nation with a population of less than half a million, triggered a meltdown in emerging markets across the globe. There are growing signs that Latvia may be the next Iceland.
Speculation has been rising that the Baltic republic may soon have to devalue its currency, the lat, which is getting closer and closer to the low end of its narrow fluctuation band. The Bank of Latvia only allows the lat to trade in a 1% range against the euro.
In fact, the Latvian central bank confirmed that it has intervened in the market in the past two days by selling euros to support the local currency, according to Lars Christensen, senior analyst at Denmark's Danske Bank. The lat breached the lower limit of the trading band on Friday.
Latvia's domestic situation increasingly resembles that of Iceland last year - it has an overheated economy fueled by credit growth, soaring inflation and a huge current account deficit.
In fact, the country's current account deficit, at 22% of gross domestic product, and inflation rate, running at 6.6%, were the highest in the European Union in 2006, according to Fitch Ratings.
"It's not often that you see this sort of headline, but Latvia could be the one to watch if the recent weakness in emerging market currencies is to gather speed," said Steve Barrow, chief currency strategist at Bear Stearns.
The Latvian government is trying to restore confidence in the lat by playing down the devaluation risk. But global risk aversion, which is on the rise following the sell-off in the equity markets of the past several weeks, will keep the pressure on the lat and with it, on the riskier, and more volatile emerging market currencies.
With such a narrow trading band for the lat, and with some "scary" looking economic numbers, "it seems almost inevitable that something has to give," Barrow said.
The ripple effect from a sharp slide in the lat could be significant. It was the sudden depreciation of the Thai currency, the baht, which triggered the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. And there was a similar domino effect from a sell-off in Iceland's krona last year.
Emerging-market currencies fell sharply between February and June 2006 after an unexpected downgrade of Iceland's outlook by Fitch. Fears of a global liquidity crunch forced investors to bail out of riskier investments.
The Latvian economy by any measure is quite small, said Danske Bank's Christensen.
Still, "the Latvian story is extremely interesting in the sense that [it] should be a reminder to people about other countries with similar problems," he said.
The current account deficit and debt liabilities make Latvia vulnerable to an increase in risk aversion because of its dependence on external financing.
Earlier this month, Fitch warned that the country looked most vulnerable to an "abrupt adjustment in capital and financial flows and slowdown in economic growth."
Overheating is another concern. The Latvian economy has enjoyed stellar growth in recent years, reaching an all-time high of 11.9% in 2006.
In February, credit agency Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for Latvia to negative from stable, citing "an escalated risk of a hard landing" if no corrective actions were taken. The economy is showing "clear signs of overheating," said S&P.
In an attempt to cool the economy and rein in inflation, the Latvian central bank on Thursday raised its key interest rate by a half percentage point to 5.50%.
The bank admitted that the country faced problems. "Alongside Latvia's rapid development, the economic imbalances have continued to worsen as suggested by the key macroeconomic indicators: persistently high inflation, large current account deficit, and rapidly growing external debt," the central bank said in a statement.
"The rate hike will help reduce the pressures on the lat moderately," said Danske's Christensen. "But the risks still are considerable and more rate hikes might very well be needed if the lat weakens further."
"If the narrow band is breached it will obviously be a massive blow to the credibility of the peg," he said. "It is getting harder and harder to avoid a hard landing in the Latvian economy and we therefore continue to recommend strongly to hedge exposure to the Latvian markets."
The problem is that the danger doesn't stop at Latvia's borders. Its neighbors, Estonia, and Lithuania, are also showing signs of overheating, rising inflation, tightening labor markets, rapid credit growth and substantial current account deficits.
Eral Yilmaz, an analyst at Fitch, warned that a delay to euro adoption, along with weak economic conditions, is a constraint on rating upgrades for these three countries, collectively known as the Baltic Republics. A failure to address overheating could lead to negative rating actions.
"'Psychological' contagion, by which markets draw parallels between economic and financial trends across countries and react accordingly -- as seen in the Asian crisis and the emerging-markets sell-off in May 2006 -- is a risk in the Baltics," Yilmaz said.
The situation in the Baltic States is "worrying," agreed Katrin Robeck, economist at Moody's Economy.com.
"Rapid credit growth paired with growing external account deficits could contribute to capital flight and currency depreciation," she said.
"We'd be surprised if the current bout of weakness in many emerging market currencies were to end here," said Bear's Barrow. "There still seems to be plenty of bad news out there waiting to prolong the risk-reduction process. Much of [it] looks set to come from the U.S. subprime mortgage market."
"One thing that there probably isn't a debate about is that this market will get worse," he said.
Most emerging market equities, bonds and currencies are trading at fairly rich valuations, said Danske's Christensen.
Meanwhile, the ratings outlook for many of these economies is turning more negative.
On Thursday, Fitch downgraded Iceland's foreign and local currency issuer default ratings, citing new data pointing to "a material deterioration in Iceland's external balance sheet."
If there were a devaluation of the lat, "the market is almost bound to see some contagion effects given that a number of other countries in the region have similar issues, involving large current account deficits and overheated economies," said Bear's Barrow.
"And, if this contagion spreads wide enough, it could certainly cast a pall over the emerging market landscape."
Wanfeng Zhou is a markets reporter in New York.
Edited by alpha, 16 March 2007 - 03:56 PM.
Posted 30 May 2007 - 03:17 PM
www.armenialiberty.org Wednesday 30, May 2007
By Hovannes Shoghikian and Emil Danielyan
The dramatic strengthening of the Armenian dram has been a major factor behind Armenia’s double-digit economic growth recorded in recent years, a senior economist from the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.
The national currency has gained more than 50 percent in nominal value against the U.S. dollar since the start of its appreciation in late 2003. The process slowed down in the first few months of this year but seems to be again gaining momentum.
The Armenian government and Central Bank have attributed the exchange rate fluctuation to a surge in hard currency remittances sent home by hundreds of thousands of Armenians living and working abroad. They also point to the dollar’s overall weakening against other major world currencies.
Local manufacturers and economists critical of the government have expressed serious concern at the trend, criticizing the authorities in Yerevan for their refusal to heavily intervene in the foreign-exchange market. They say the stronger dram has hurt Armenian exports and widened the country’s huge trade deficit. Some of the critics have gone as far as to accuse the authorities of “artificially” strengthening the dram to benefit government-connected importers of fuel and other basic commodities.
But both the IMF and the World Bank have dismissed the criticism, voicing support for monetary policies pursued by the Armenian Central Bank. David Owen, a senior advisor in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, insisted on Wednesday that the strong dram has actually contributed to Armenian growth by suppressing inflation.
“We think that the relatively flexible approach to the exchange rate -- allowing more appreciation than elsewhere -- combined with tight fiscal policy have contributed to the very good performance on inflation and to the high growth rate that has been achieved in Armenia,” he told reporters in Yerevan.
Owen argued that Armenian exports have grown by an average of 20 percent in the last few years even if they were largely flat in 2006. He said the authorities should help to boost them by implementing more economic reforms and strengthening business competition.
According to government data for the first quarter of this year, the exports were up by 25 percent from the same period in 2006, totaling $231 million. But they continued to pale in comparison with imports that jumped by 52 percent to $645 million.
The first-quarter official figures also show the Armenian economy growing by 11 percent year on year, putting it on track to expand at a double-digit rate for a sixth consecutive year.
Posted 02 June 2007 - 01:27 AM
ARMENIA FIRST AMONG NON OIL-EXPORTER STATES BY ECONOMY GROWTH RATE
High rates of economic growth is still registered in Caucasus and Central Asia, yet still we shall be aware of possible price pressures and foreign changes, said David Owen, head of IMF Middle East and Central Asia departments. According to the IMF official, the economy growth rate has been higher than 10% in the states of those regions. The economy growth was high both in gas and oil exporter states (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenstan) as wall as non-exporters (Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan). The economy growth rate is predicted to exceed 12%.
Thus, Armenia is the first in development among the states, which do not export oil or gas. Average economy growth in Armenia for the last 4 years equals 13%, and in the first three months of 2007 this indicator has exceeded 9-10%, provided for by the state budget.
Armenia is also on the first place by the progress of consolidation of national currency. Mr. Owen said that due to the flexible policy of the Armenian Central Bank the nominal value of the Armenian national currency consolidated by 25% and the real value – 16,9%. He added that such indicators are positive for the macroeconomic description of Armenia.
Nevertheless Owen pointed out that tax collection rates in Armenia still remain low. He suggested that the taxation of agriculture and construction, most swift-developing spheres in Armenia, is ineffective. In order to improve the situation with tax collection in Armenia, the IMF official also emphasized improvement of the administration system and extermination of corruption.
By A. Martirosian
Posted 22 June 2007 - 12:34 AM
10.2% ECONOMIC GROWTH IN ARMENIA
10.2 % economic growth is recorded in the first five months of this year in Armenia according to the National Statistical Service of RA.
In industry - in the real part of the economy nothing is changed; only a trivial rise is recorded. The total industrial production increased by 1.3%, but it has a decrease of 0.3% without electricity.
The volume of industrial production, without diamond industry, increased by 7.9 %.
The last index is explained by the fall in the volume of diamond industry and at the same time development of other industrial branches.
The volume of agricultural production rose by 1.3%, the retail trade circulation - by 11.2%.
High growth is recorded in the sphere of services - 16.5%.
The rise in construction sphere is 11.6% in contrast to the little growth in this sphere from January to April (6.4%). It is probably conditioned by the end of parliamentary elections in Armenia.
Monthly average of wages is 71.000 AMD in the first five months of 2007 - 52.000 AMD in the public and 88.600 AMD in the private sectors
As compared with December the prices rose by 4.2% in contrast to the 2.1% rise of prices in January-April.
Foreign trade circulation volumes increased by more than 39%.
Export of 423.5 M USD is recorded in the first five months of 2007. It means that export increased by 25% as compared with the export of the first five months of last year.
Import exceeds 1 billion USD and is 1 billion 112 million USD (an increase of 45.3% as compared with the import of the same period of 2006).
Negative foreign trade balance continues to deepen and is 688.5 M USD.
The comparison of import-export indexes is a little better if not to take into account the production of diamond.
In this case export increased by 43.3%, import - by 56.1%.
By Ara Martirosian
Posted 07 July 2007 - 08:22 PM
Posted 09 July 2007 - 10:11 AM
YEREVAN, JULY 9, ARMENPRESS: Armenia's diamond-cutting industry suffered a major slump in the first five months of this year reporting a 50 percent decline in production volumes from a year ago. The sector, once announced by the government as one of its major priorities, has been suffering decline for the fourth consecutive year after a decade of rapid expansion.
According to Gagik Mkrtchian, head of the department on precious stones and jewelry at the Armenian Ministry of Trade and Economic Development, Armenian diamond-cutting companies produced over the first five months of 2007 20.2 billion Armenian Drams (AMD) worth output, down from almost 38.6 billion from a year ago.
The sale volumes decreased from almost 39 billion AMD in the first five months of 2006 to 19.6 billion Drams in January-May of 2007. Export volumes decreased from 37.5 AMD to 19.3 billion AMD.
Mr. Mkrtchian said one of the major reasons behind this dramatic slump was the shortfall in anticipated deliveries of rough diamonds from Russia. A 2001 Russian-Armenian agreement enabled Armenian companies to process up to 400,000 carats of Russian rough diamonds annually from 2002 through 2004. The quota was subsequently raised to 450,000 carats for 2005 and 2006, but only a fraction of that actually was delivered in 2005 and no raw-diamond arrived in 2006.
Another reason was the lower demand for diamond and golden items in the global market in 2004, but though the global crisis was over, Armenian sector failed to recover. As a result, one of the biggest Armenian companies, Shoghakh, had to close 1000 jobs.
He said the chief manager of the Russian Alrosa company, one of the biggest raw-diamond companies, will arrive in Yerevan soon to negotiate establishment of a joint or Russian company in Armenia.
Mkrtchian said establishment of a Russian diamond-cutting company in Armenia is a way out since "Russia has the raw-material, which it wants to sale, while Armenia has facilities and labor force to process it. "
The bulk of the rough supplies come mainly from Israel and Belgium, explaining why the two countries are among Armenia's leading trading partners.
Posted 12 July 2007 - 09:35 AM
YEREVAN, JULY 12, ARMENPRESS: Pierre Fatouche, a Lebanese businessman and head of Fatouche Group, which owns the controlling stake in Armenia’s second mobile telephone operator-VivaCell- said today his company intends to expand the geography of its operations in Armenia and invest in other economy branches.
Particularly, he said the company is negotiating with Armenian authorities options of investing into the mining industry. Pierre Fatouche cited the ‘very favorable’ Armenian legislation and ‘the political stability’ as the main motives behind his decision to expand operations in Armenia.
“Our company believes in Armenia’s future and trusts its authorities,” he said.
Fatouche Group took hold of telecommunications sector of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2002 through K-Telecom which later opened VivaCell in 2005.
Hussein Rifan, a VivaCell board member, said the company is going to place its shares on Armenia’s stock exchange to make them available to all Armenians. According to him, this will happen in 2008.
Viva Cells chief manager Ralf Yirikian said the company holds 67 percent of Armenia’s mobile phone market.
According to Pierre Fatouche, his company has invested 250 million euros in Armenia.
Posted 12 July 2007 - 09:36 AM
YEREVAN, JULY 12, Armenpress: According to a report by the British ‘The Economist’ magazine’s Intelligence Unit, Armenian economy in 2006 grew more than 13 percent. The growth for this year is expected to be about 10 percent.
The report examines economic indices of 28 former Soviet and Eastern Europe republics in 2006 and the expected economic growth this year. Foreign investments in these countries last year amounted to $108 billion, a 40 percent rise from a year before.
The highest economic growth in 2006-34.5 percent- was reported by Azerbaijan. This year its economy is expected to grow 20 percent. The reports says the South Caucasus and Central Asia are the most rapidly developing regions
Posted 22 July 2007 - 10:49 AM
YEREVAN, JULY 20, ARMENPRESS: Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki has arrived today in Yerevan to co chair the seventh Tehran- Yerevan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission meeting. The Armenian cochairman is energy minister Armen Movsisian.
Mottaki is accompanied by a member of Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Reza Talainik and a number of foreign ministry officials in his one-day visit.
The seventh session of the Commission is discussing a wide scope of bilateral issues relating to energy, agriculture, banking sector, tourism, transport and communication and trade. At the end of the meeting the sides are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding.
Armenian minister Armen Movsisian termed Armenian-Iranian relations as ‘embracing,” saying there is serious potential to boost them.
Manouchehr Mottaki for his part said despite apparent progress in these relations Iranians and Armenians want to feel the results of it. According to him, the positive record of bilateral contacts, the political of both countries’ leadership and the current potential open new horizons for effective partnership.
Mottaki said the two governments are developing an agreement on free trade regime, which would outline a prospect for a long-term cooperation. The Iranian minister also mentioned the plans to build a hydropower plant on the border River of Arax, a new railway to connect both countries and a refinery in Armenia to process Iranian oil.
Mottaki said these projects, when materialized, would give a fresh impetus to cooperation on the regional level and would benefit its peoples.
Armenian-Iranian trade, according to him, rose to $200 million last year from $180 a year before, but he said this number could be much higher. Experts estimate that Armenia and Iran may raise their bilateral trade up to $1 billion.
Edited by abass80, 22 July 2007 - 10:50 AM.
Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:07 AM
YEREVAN, JULY 23, ARMENPRESS: Armenia’s GDP continued its robust double-digit growth in the first half of this year, according to the national statistical service (Armstat), which said the growth amounted to 945 billion Armenian Drams (AMD) or an 11.2 percent rise from a year ago.
According to the numbers, released today by Armstat, industrial growth, in money terms, rose to 328 billion Drams, or a 1.4 percent higher from a year ago. Without electricity production, the growth was 267 billion Drams and without diamond cutting industry it rose 8.2 percent to 325.2 billion AMD.
Electricity production in the first six month amounted to 3. 06 billion kilowatt /hours and agricultural GDP was 127 billion Drams, or 1.9 percent down from a year ago.
The biggest growth rate-17.2 percent-was again reported in construction sector, which saw a 172 billion AMD investments.
Armstat said retail trade rose 11.4 percent to 364.5 billion AMD, while services to population grew 18 percent to 245 billion AMD.
Population income was said to grow to 854 billion AMD and expenses to 839 billion AMD. Population income and expenses grew respectively 25.2 and 23.7 percent.
Armstat also said average wage rose 20. 5 percent to 71,344 AMD ($210), with 52,500 AMD in public sector and 89,000 in private sector. Armenia’s foreign trade rose meantime 36.5 percent to $1.9 billion.
Posted 15 August 2007 - 05:58 PM
Canadian company Transeuro Energy will start exploring a natural gas field in the Armavir region of Armenia from August 22, reports the news agency Regnum.
The preliminary project will last three to four months at a cost of around USD 10 million. If initial test drills are encouraging the company will increase its investment.
Current geological data suggests significant natural gas reserves in the field, but technical feasibility studies are needed before a major extraction operation is commissioned.
A discovery of large reserves could change the geopolitical map of the South Caucasus, experts predict.
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