ArmInfo.Armenia's gross international reserves (GIR) accelerated the y-o-t growth in Jan-July 2022 from 15.2% to 16.3% (i.e. they increased by $580 million) and reached a new record level of $4.126 billion (from the previous all-time high of $4.112 billion in December 2022), according to the data of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia.
The lion's share in the GIR, $4.079 billion, falls on external assets in hard currency, and the share of SDR in the IMF reaches $46 million. According to the report of the regulator, by August this year, foreign assets in hard currency increased by 15.8%, and the share of SDRs in the IMF increased sharply almost 2-fold, which was also observed a year earlier in the same period, when the14.6% growth of the foreign assets in hard currency was accompanied by a 4.7-fold sharp increase in the share of SDRs in the IMF.
In Jan-July 2023, GIR increased modestly - by 0.3% or by $14 million, which was accompanied by a decrease in external assets in hard currency by 0.7% and 7.5 -fold sharp increase in the share of SDR in the IMF. last year, the growth of GIR for 7 months was more pronounced: 9.8% against the background of 10.2% increase in external assets in hard currency and 25.6% decrease in the share of SDR in the IMF.
Moreover, in July 2023 alone, GIR accelerated growth from 4.3% to 5.5%, increasing in absolute terms by $216.5 million (against June growth by $160.6 million). A similar dynamic was also observed in foreign assets in hard currency, with acceleration of growth from 4.4% in June to 4.6% in July. At the same time, the share of SDR in the IMF for the reporting month increased sharply 5.2-fold, after the June decline by 26.3%. A year earlier, in July 2022, there was a slowdown in the growth of GIR - from 9.5% to 2.8%, due to the same slowdown in the growth of foreign assets in hard currency - from 10.2% to 3%, and the continued decline in the share of SDRs in the IMF with a slowdown from 39.4% to 13.5%.
By 2023, Armenia's gross international reserves (GIR) reached a historical maximum - $4.112 billion, with a y-o-y growth of 27.3% or $881.8 million (against 23.5% growth in 2021). External assets in hard currency also reached a historical maximum - $4.108 billion, having increased by 28.5% over 2022, with a decline in the share of SDR in the IMF by 81.3% - to $6.2 million, while a year earlier there was an increase both of them: by 22.7% and 3.7-fold, respectively. It is worth noting that the share of SDRs in the IMF for 2022 has moved even further away from the record level of August 2021 of $178.2 million. As a comparison, let's take a look at the pre-covid dynamics of 2019: the growth of external assets in hard currency by 26.2% and the share of SDRs in the IMF by 3.2 % ensured the growth of GIR by 26.1%. The share of Armenia's bank gold in the country's GIR was zeroed as far back as December 2003.
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 announcement indicated that the decision was taken by the Fund's Executive Board without convening formal discussions, completing the review of the sixth and final SBA reviews, 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 moment the program is approved in December, $24.4 million (18.4 million SDR) becomes immediately available to Armenia, and the rest will be provided after final reviews of six semi-annual periods. This reserve program, according to the assurances of the Armenian authorities, is considered preventive and will help hedge the balance of payments against shock consequences, as well as serve as an incentive for the efforts of the authorities in terms of reforms. In mid-June 2023, the IMF under the new Reserve Program (SBA) provided Armenia with access to 18.4 million SDR ($24.5 million) Stand-by loan, bringing the total amount to 36.8 million SDR ($49 million).