ArmInfo.The growth of exports against the background of the accelerating decline in imports reduced the negative balance of Armenia's foreign trade turnover in the first quarter of 2021 by 16.8% per annum, against a decline of 13.4% a year earlier.
Thus, the annual growth of exports moderately accelerated in the first quarter of 2021 from 0.2% to 3.4%, while imports further declined- from 6.2% to 8.7%. Against this background, economic activity in the country decreased by 2% per annum in the first quarter of 2021, increased by 9.6% in March, and increased by 3.8% in comparison with March 2020, while a year earlier, in the first quarter, growth was recorded by 4%, in March - a decline of 0.2% with an annual decline of 4.9%.
According to preliminary data of the RA Statistical Committee, Armenia's foreign trade turnover in the first quarter of 2021 amounted to 791.3 billion drams ($ 1.509 billion), in particular, exports - 300.4 billion drams ($ 572.9 million), imports -490.9 billion drams ($ 936.4 million), which formed a negative foreign trade balance at the level of 190.5 billion drams ($ 363.5 million).
In March 2021 alone, foreign trade turnover increased by 12.8% due to an increase in exports by 11.6% and imports by 13.5%. As a result, Armenia's negative foreign trade balance increased in March 2021 by 17.9% (against 6.5% growth in March 2020), amounting to 77.2 billion drams ($ 146.3 million). In y-o-y terms (March 2021 against March 2020), the growth of foreign trade turnover by 10.7% was due to an increase in both exports by 21.8% and imports by 5%, while a year earlier in the same period (March 2020 versus March 2019), there was a decline in foreign trade turnover by 16%, provoked by a decrease in exports by 17.4% and imports by 15.3%. The negative balance of foreign trade of Armenia decreased in March 2021 to March 2020 by 10.6%, against a decline of 13.1% a year earlier.
The average calculated AMD exchange rate was 527.67 AMD / $ 1 in March 2021, and 524.14 AMD / $ 1 in January-March, against 489.01 AMD / $ 1 in March 2020 and 482.32 AMD / $ 1 in January-March 2020.
To note, the World Bank forecasts an increase in exports by 8.7% and imports by 8.3% in Armenia's foreign trade for 2021. According to the forecast of the Central Bank of Armenia, in 2021, imports will decrease by 2-4% (against the actual decline in 2020 by 17.7%), and exports will increase by 1-3% (against the actual decline in 2020 by 3.9%).
To recall, in 2020, in Armenia, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a state of emergency was introduced from March 16, which lasted until September 12, but security measures were retained after the emergency was lifted. In this regard, a temporary ban was imposed on many types of economic activities in the first month of the state of emergency, which was partially lifted in the second half of April, and the ban was completely lifted on May 18. From the same day, public transport (including the metro) and many public catering and services began to work, but the activities of international air, rail, bus communication were still limited, however, from September 2, restrictions on entry and exit to Armenia were lifted across air borders.