Monday, February 5 2018 20:17
Karine Melikyan

Money of Russian origin, bypassing sanctions, keep way to West through Armenia

Money of Russian origin, bypassing sanctions, keep way to West through Armenia

ArmInfo. The outflow of transfers from Armenia to the US has sharply accelerated, according to the data provided in the official statistics of the Central Bank of Armenia.  So, in 2017, the outflow of private funds from Armenia to the US increased by 2.3 times, while the inflow of funds to Armenia from Russia increased substantially.

As a result, in the structure of transfers, the absolute amount of outflow of funds from Armenia to the USA began to prevail over the amount of inflow from the USA to Armenia, repeating the picture of the crisis 2008 and post-crisis 2011, but with completely different factors. According to independent analysts, the reason for the current situation is the flight from sanctions and tight control over capital outflow in Russia, as a result of which most of the money of Russian origin comes to Armenia for further re-export to the United States and Western Europe. This is evidenced by a significantly increased level of excess liquidity in the banking system of Armenia.

According to Central Bank statistics, the total inflow of transfers of natural persons to Armenia grew by 14.6% to $ 1.757 billion in 2017. At the same time, the growth rate of the outflow of transfers accelerated to 25.6% in 2017, reaching $ 1.026 billion. As a result, the dynamics of net inflow of transfers in 2017 came from the recession by 2.1% growth, amounting to $ 731 million. In the inflow, Russia's share is 60.6% or $ 1.065 billion, and in the outflow - 34.5% or $ 354 million. The inflow of transfers from Russia grew by 18 in 2017, 7% with an outflow of 6.1%, which increased the net inflow from Russia by 26.2%.

By way of comparison, we note that a year earlier - in 2016 the inflow of transfers of natural persons to Armenia decreased by 6.1% with an outflow of 7.4%, which reduced the net inflow by 17.8% per annum.  At that time, Russia's share in the inflow decreased from 61.8% to 58.5%, due to a 11.1% decline in the absolute value, and in the outflow, on the contrary, increased from 37.6% to 40.8% as a result of the absolute growth of 16.4%, which ultimately reduced the net inflow from Russia by 22%.

The Central Bank of Armenia, updating its forecast for 2017 in November, has improved the expectations of growth in the money transfers of individuals to accelerate to 14-16% (against the previously envisaged 12-14%), which is more rapid than expected by the recovery of the Russian economy . The World Bank sees the modest turn of the Russian economy as the main factor in improving the economic situation in Armenia, in particular, a 1.7% growth and maintaining this level in 2018 with an acceleration up to 1.8% in 2019, which increased private transfers to Armenia after seven years of consecutive decline.

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