HSBC Treasury Management Profiles 2018 -

Current section, Introduction

Introduction

The Armenian economy has transformed significantly since independence in 1991 - GDP growth in 2017 was 7.5 per cent, the highest economic growth since 2007. Armenia’s economy is largely dependent on industry (12.6 per cent growth in 2017), services (14.4 per cent growth in 2017), agriculture (3 per cent decline in 2017) and remittances; remittances in 2017 rose 14.5 per cent on 2016 figures, to more than USD1.5 billion, according to the central bank. Armenia is economically dependent on Russia – remittances from Russia in 2017 accounted for 60.3 per cent of the overall remittance inflows and rose by 18.7 per cent year-on-year. Russia is Armenia’s largest trading partner (44.6 per cent of all exports and 19.1 per cent of all imports in 2017) and as such the country suffered when Russia’s economy fell deeper into crisis in 2015/16 and the value of the RUB hit record lows. However, a stronger RUB, alongside an upturn in the global economy, has seen exports and imports grow rapidly in 2017, increasing 25.2 per cent and 27.8 per cent respectively. Armenian-Russian trade turnover increased 26.1 per cent. The government is introducing a number of initiatives to attract investors to the country, such as the Law on Free Trade Zones. National Statistics Service figures reveal that FDI fell by 27 per cent in 2017, to USD246 million.

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Legal and regulatory

  • Foreign exchange and domestic currency (AMD) accounts can be held by residents both domestically and abroad. Resident domestic currency accounts are convertible
  • Non-resident bank accounts are permitted in both foreign and domestic currency. Non-resident domestic currency accounts are convertible
  • All transactions between residents and non-residents must be reported to the central bank on a quarterly basis
  • Foreign exchange controls are administered by the Central Bank of Armenia. Residents and non-residents can make foreign exchange purchase and sale operations in the domestic currency market without any restrictions through licensed financial institutions

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Taxation

  • Armenian companies are taxed on their worldwide income
  • Non-resident companies conducting business through a permanent establishment are taxed on Armenian-sourced income only
  • The corporate tax rate is 20 per cent
  • Transfer pricing regulations will enter into force on 1 January 2020 and apply to the taxpayers whose sum of controlled transactions exceed AMD200 million (approximately USD420,000) in any reporting year

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Payment instruments and systems

  • Cash is an important payment medium in Armenia, particularly for low-value retail payments. Cheque use is in terminal decline due to an increasing preference for electronic payment methods; electronic credit transfers account for more than two-thirds of the volume of all credit transfers. Payment cards are increasingly popular. Contactless payment cards were introduced in 2017
  • Armenia operates two national payment systems: the Electronic Payment System and the Paper-based Gross Settlement System

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Cash management

  • Automated collection methods are increasingly used by companies

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Electronic banking

  • Electronic banking is available in Armenia. There is no bank-independent electronic banking standard
  • Internet and mobile banking services are provided by the country’s leading banks for both corporate and retail purposes. Adoption figures for these services are improving. HSBC Armenia has one of the highest penetration rates of electronic banking in Armenia, with 98 per cent of corporate payments being made via HSBCnet

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To read the full report on Armenia and to discover more on these and other topics, including banking and trade, please click on the Download PDF option.

Sources:

  • Asian Development Bank
  • Central Bank of Armenia
  • National Statistics Service

The materials contained on this page were assembled in May 2017 (unless otherwise dated).


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