Saturday, April 9 2016 12:59
Svetlana Hovsepyan

Armenian dram depreciating again - from 480.5 to 484.5 against US dollar on April 4-8

Armenian dram depreciating again - from 480.5 to 484.5 against US  dollar on April 4-8

ArmInfo. The slow revaluation of Armenian dram (AMD) in March was followed by devaluation starting from April 4, with the AMD/USD exchange rate reaching 484.5 AMD/$1 by April 8. NASDAQ OMX Armenia has been passive, while the transactions on the interbank forex market have dropped almost by 28% during the current week. It is noteworthy that the Central Bank of Armenia has not interfered and has not made any interventions since the beginning of this year. As a result, in Q1 2016, AMD devaluated against USD to 496 AMD/$1 (February 12) and then stood at initial 482AMD/$1 on March 25. By April 2, AMD appreciated against USD to 480.5 AMD/1USD, and then started depreciating again to 484.5 AMD/$1 by April 8. Independent experts say the AMD/USD exchange rate may rise to 540-550 AMD/$1 by late 2016, amid the financial and economic crisis in Russia and the sliding prices of oil and crude metals, which is one of the key export items of Armenia.

 
The CBA press office has told ArmInfo that NASDAQ OMX Armenia has not been active since the beginning of the year, not considering the only and insignificant amount of 100 thousand USD (on March 11). At the same time the interbank forex market continues actively operating 
ensuring on April 4-8 a total amount of $2.5 million transactions at the average exchange rate of 482.05 AMD/1USD.  
 
The source says that on April 4-8, on the intrabank currency market (transactions with customers) the banks bought $68.7 mln (11% decline versus the previous week) at the average exchange rate of 481.09 AMD/$1, and sold $77.3 mln (7.2% decline versus the previous week) at the average exchange rate of 482.82 AMD/$1. In the meantime, the banks bought 8.4 mln EUR (up 27.3%) at the average exchange rate of 546.31 AMD/1EUR, and sold 12.8 mln EUR (up 16.4%) at the exchange rate of 550.22 AMD/1EUR. The banks also bought 772.1 mln RUR (down 11.6%) at the average exchange rate of 7.03 AMD/1RUR and sold 370.3 mln RUR (down 20%) at the exchange rate of 7.12 AMD/1RUR.
 
During the previous week (March 28-April 2), the Armenian banks provided AMD loans worth 44.2 bln AMD and USD loans worth 56.7 mln USD. As compared with the previous week (March 21-25), AMD loans increased by 17.6%, and the ones in terms of USD grew by 28%.
 
To recall, during the 12 months of 2015, on the retail foreign exchange market of Armenia AMD weakened against USD from 477 to 482 AMD/$1 on average and strengthened against EUR from 571.5 to 529 AMD/1EUR and against Russian ruble from 8.2 to 6.9 AMD/1 RUR.  
Between December 14 and 28, the Central Bank made almost daily interventions.  AMD depreciated amid decline of foreign trade turnover (by 20.6%), while import dropped more significantly (by 26.5%) than export (by 3.9%) as well as the decline in transfer inflow to Armenia more than by 30%, and this happened in conditions of low buying capacity of the population and low economic activity in the country.  Since early 2016, AMD started depreciating again on the retail foreign exchange market of Armenia however since March it 
strengthened and stood at 482 AMD/1USD by March 25. At the same time AMD depreciated against EUR to 538 AMD/1EUR and against RUR to 7.1AMD/1RUR. Later, on April 2 AMD appreciated against USD to 480.5 AMD/$1, at the same time depreciating against EUR to 547 AMD/1 EUR, and against RUR to 7.2 AMD/1RUR. Afterwards, the AMD depreciated against USD to 484.5 AMD/$1 by April 8, at the same time depreciating against EUR to 551 AMD/1EUR and against RUR to 7.3 AMD/1RUR.
 
Since the beginning of the year, banks have made no foreign currency transactions at NASDAQ OMX Armenia, as they prefer interbank operations or what they call more efficient off-exchange trading. The statement came from CEO at NASDAQ OMX Armenia, when commenting to ArmInfo on the waning interest of banks in the stock exchange. In this light, he said, NASDAQ OMX Armenia will soon launch a new technological platform for transactions and a new mechanism of mutual settlements, which will indisputably interest the financial 
institutions and bring them back to the stock exchange. According to him, launch of a new T+N (tomorrow/next) terms of transactions or trading without preliminary depositing is also planned. 
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