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What is the Armenian Dram (AMD)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Armenia a Ba2 rating, with a negative outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a BB- rating.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $9,371,187,175 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $3,030. It grew by 2.10% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2010 is 7.00%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 130.93.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, and the head of state is President Serzh Sargsyan (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Dram, translated to English as “money,” (AMD) is the monetary unit of Armenia. According to Armenian Law, the Central Bank of Armenia is the only place allowed to issue the national currency. The first Dram existed from 1199-1375 when silver coins were called dram. On Sept. 21, 1991, Armenia was proclaimed independent from the Soviet Union and on March 27, 1993, the Central Bank of Armenia was adopted. The modern dram came into existence on Nov. 22, 1993, where the exchange rate was roughly 14 AMD to 1 USD. It became the single official currency in early 1994, and has followed a floating exchange rate regime. There has been a steady growth in the currency since its first issue in 1993.

As of September 1, 2005, the 500-dram banknote will no longer be accepted.

Sovereign Ratings for Armenia

Armenia is not rated.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

Armenia is considered one of the most pro-democratic nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States, as its aim is to create a government based on a Western-style democracy. Armenia runs as a unicameral parliament, called t he National Assembly, and is managed by a coalition of three political parties (the Republican party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Country of Law party). Many smaller parties joined in the Justice Bloc comprise the main opposition.

Prominent Figures

Serving as Prime Minister in 1997, Robert Kocharyan was elected President in 1998 with a main goal of boosting the Armenian economy. He was reelected in 2003, however, he is no longer a member of any political party. Armenia’s Prime Minister is Andranik Markaryan. The Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia is Tigran Sargsyan.

Unique Characteristics

The exchange rate of USD and ARD is conditioned by supply and demand. When the demand for dollars rises, the dollar becomes more expensive. According the President of the Central Bank of Armenia, the best way to gauge the future values of the USD and ARD currency pair is to follow economic growth and in different fields and determine the demand of the currency in these fields. It is also important to monitor the supply of USD and ARD entering or leaving the country.

Key Economic Factors

While still under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia developed a modern industrial sector. It supplied machine tools, textiles and other manufactured goods in exchange for raw materials and energy. However, in 1991 Armenia moved towards the small-scale agriculture with the implosion of the USSR. This sector needs more investment and updated technology, and although the privatization is slow, it has been given emphasis by current administration.

  • Agricultural Industry: While still under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia developed a modern industrial sector. It supplied machine tools, textiles and other manufactured goods in exchange for raw materials and energy. However, in 1991 Armenia moved towards the small-scale agriculture with the implosion of the USSR. This sector needs more investment and updated technology, and although the privatization is slow, it has been given emphasis by current administration.
  • Energy: Armenia suffered chronic energy shortages in the early and mid-1990s, which have been offset by energy provided by its nuclear power plants at Metsamor. However, Metsamor is under international pressure to close, and while Armenia is a net energy exporter, it does not have the generating capacity to replace Metsamor. The electricity distribution system was privatized in 2002. Armenia’s severe trade imbalance has been helped somewhat by international aid and foreign direct investment. Armenia continues to hold close economic ties with Russia, especially in the energy sector.
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