ArmInfo.Armenia's gross international reserves (GIR) decreased in November 2022 by 3.2% or $115.1 million (against a 5.5% decline in November 2021), amounting to $3.518 billion, thereby continuing to move down from the historical maximum recorded in September. In parallel with this, the y-o-y growth of gross international reserves slowed down significantly - from 33% to 16.2% (or by $491.7 million in November 2022 compared to November 2021).
The growth rate for 11 months of 2022 also slowed down noticeably - to 9% from 15.7% for 11 months of 2021. This is evidenced by the data of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia.
In particular, in November 2022, the reduction of gross international reserves was due to a 31% decline in foreign assets in hard currency to $2.496 billion, with an increase in the share of SDR in the IMF by 21.7% to $23.2 million, while a year earlier both had almost the same decline - 5.5-5.9%.
It is worth noting that external assets in hard currency continued to move down from the all-time high recorded in September, and the share of SDR in the IMF is too far from the August 2021 record level of $178.2 million.
In January-November 2022, the slowdown in the growth of gross international reserves was provoked by a reversal of the trend of external assets in hard currency to a downward 22% from an upward 13.8% over 11 months of 2021, as well as a significant deterioration in the dynamics of the share of SDR in the IMF to 29.4% decline from 6.7-fold growth in 11 months of 2021. the y-o-y trend also shows a similar reversal (November 2022 to November 2021): external assets in hard currency from 32.3% growth to 15.8% and the share of SDR in the IMF from 69.3% growth to 61.3 % decline.
During the 11 months of 2022, the growth of gross international reserves and external assets in hard currency has been outlined since April, reaching a historical maximum in June, with a further monthly setting of a new record level in July-September. And the share of SDR in the IMF showed growth in March (by 65.3%) and October-November alone (by 23%).
In early May 2022, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to provide Armenia with 25.716 million SDRs (about $35 million) under the Stand-By Agreement (SBA), as a result of which the total amount of payments under the program will be 308.8 million SDRs (about $415 million). The IMF report indicated that the decision was made by the Executive Board of the Fund without convening official discussions, completing the review of the sixth and final SBA review, thereby allowing the authorities to raise the abovementioned amount. The same report noted that the performance of the three-year standby agreement (SBA) remained strong despite a number of internal and external shocks. Much later, on December 13, 2022, the IMF approved a three-year standby loan program for Armenia in the amount of about $171.1 million (128.8 million SDR), which is about 100% of the RA quota in the IMF. From the approval of the program in December, $24.4 million (18.4 million SDRs) becomes immediately available to Armenia, and the rest of the amount will be provided after final reviews of six semi-annual periods. This reserve program, according to the Armenian authorities, is considered preventive and will help insure the balance of payments against shock consequences, as well as stimulate the efforts of the authorities in terms of reforms. It should be noted that in 2021, Armenia's gross international reserves (GIR) increased by 23% or by $599.4 million (against an 8.2% decline in 2020 and a pre-Covid 26.1% growth in 2019), reaching $3.230 billion. External assets in hard currency in the context of the gross international reserves increased by 22.1% to $3.197 billion, and the share of SDR in the IMF jumped 3.7-fol to $32.8 million, while in 2020 external assets in hard currency were at 8.3% decline, and the share of SDR in the IMF showed a relatively modest increase of 45.5%, against the pre-Covid growth in 2019 of the first one by 26.2% and the second one by 3.2%. The share of banking gold in Armenia's gross international reserves was set to zero in December 2003