After the 2020 global crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the Nagorno Karabakh war, the domestic economy is trying to return to its normal course.
Evidence of that was the 17.7% growth of the foreign trade turnover during last year. In 2020 this indicator was $ 7120 million, while last year it was already about $ 8380 million (exceeding the previous one by $ 1260 million).
Moreover, both exports and imports have increased. Last year, goods worth about USD 5357 million were imported to Armenia, which exceeds the indicator in 2020 by 16.9% or USD 774 million.
Imports by month
In almost all months of last year, imports exceeded the index of the comparable month of 2020. Exceptions are January and February. This is due to the fact that in the first months of 2020 the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic were still not noticeable, and in the same period of 2021 the Armenian economy was still trying to overcome the shock. That is, the two months preceding the economic shock coincided with the months following the shock.
Since March 2021, importս started to exceed the index of comparable months of 2020, which is more visible in the last months of the year. This is due to the fact that in the same period of 2020 the country was at war and trade and economic relations were, in fact, disrupted.
Commodity structure of imports
In terms of imports, growth was registered in almost all commodity groups. The only exceptions are the import of various industrial products and works of art, which decreased by 3․2 and 12․8%, respectively.
Last year, the largest share in Armenia’s commodity structure of imports belonged to mining products – $ 937 million (mostly oil and gas). This exceeds the indicator of 2020 by $ 190 million or 25.5%. In the second place is the import of cars, equipment and mechanisms – around $ 900 million (mainly computers, mobile phones, etc., an increase of 2.3%).
Imports of chemical products ($ 455 million, mainly pharmaceuticals, up by 9%), processed foods ($ 434 million, up by 9․2%) and non-precious metals and articles made from them ($ 391 million, mostly diamonds, up by 8․3%) also increased.
Imports of vehicles also increased by more than 54% or $ 108 million. The reason is that due to the EEU customs regulations the import of vehicles recorded a sharp decline in 2020.
Imports of textiles ($ 302 million) and products of plant origin ($ 289 million) also increased by 23% and 13․1%, respectively.
Imports of other commodity types also increased by more than 24%. In 2020 the import of other goods amounted to $ 1082 million, while last year it already amounted to $ 1343 million.
Unlike exports, both the geography and the commodity structure of imports of Armenia are much more diverse.
In this respect, the largest trade partner remains the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), from where goods worth $ 2073 million were imported to Armenia, exceeding the indicator of the previous year by 20․4%. The share of the EEU in the total commodity structure of imports also increased by 1․1%, making up 38․7%.
Obviously, the main trade partner is the Russian Federation. Last year Armenia imported goods worth $ 1994 million from Russia, amounting to 37․2% of the total imports. The volume of goods imported from Russia has increased by 20.5% compared to 2020.
Armenia imports mostly oil and oil products, natural and liquefied gas, medicines, wheat, ready-made food, crude or semi-processed gold, aluminum, vehicles, etc. from this country.
Among other EEU member states, Armenia has the most active trade relations with Belarus. Of course, compared to Russia, imports from this country are quite small – about $ 70 million, but it is still 1․3% of total imports. Armenia mainly imports agricultural machinery and food from this country.
Although imports of goods from EU member states increased by about 10% in 2021 to more than $ 1 billion, the share of EU countries in total imports continued to decline. Compared to 20․4% in 2020, the share of goods imported from these countries last year was 19․2% of total imports.
Germany is the largest trade partner of Armenia among the EU member states with a total volume of $ 223 million. Compared to 2020, imports from this country have decreased by 8․2%. Armenia imports production equipment, vehicles, medicines, wires, etc. from Germany.
The next largest EU member partner is Italy – $ 195 million. From this country Armenia imports mostly different types of fabrics and clothes, bird furs, feathers, air pumps, heating boilers, tree and shrub cuttings and seedlings, medicines.
Armenia also imports a considerable volume of goods from the Netherlands, France, Poland, Belgium, Spain and other European countries. Imports from these countries have increased by an average of 1% compared to 2020. Armenia mainly buys medicine, diamonds, synthetic fabrics, paper, building constructions, lining tiles, calculators, etc. from these countries.
In addition to the EEU and EU member states, Armenia has imported goods worth more than $ 2․2 billion from other countries. The major partner is China. Last year, more than $ 550 million worth of goods were imported to Armenia from this country, which makes up more than 10% of imports (imports from this country increased by 26.1%). We import all sorts of commodities from China – telephones, modems, diodes, calculators, refrigerators and freezers, heavy construction equipment, shoes, rubber tires, etc.
The next important direction is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Imports from Iran increased by more than 38% compared to 2020, amounting to about $ 440 million. Armenia imports mostly oil and oil products, natural and liquefied gas, oil refining residues, iron rods, induction reels from the neighboring country.
Imports from the other neighbor Georgia increased by about 10% last year, amounting to $ 354 million. The main commodities imported from this country are alcoholic beverages, wooden tiles, fertilizers, peas, metal doors, windows, etc.
Imports from the United States increased by 76% due to the import of passenger cars. Compared to $ 78 million in 2020, $ 137 million worth of goods were imported from the USA last year, most of which are vehicles and medicine.
Imports of goods from the United Arab Emirates increased by about 27%. Last year, Armenia imported $ 121 million worth of goods from the UAE, most of which are diamonds, raw or semi-finished gold, and jewelry.
As for Ukraine, last year about $ 150 million worth of goods were imported from this country, mainly tobacco and other tobacco products, poultry, chocolate, confectionery, and iron.
From other countries not mentioned in the article, Armenia imports goods worth about half a billion US dollars: coffee, cigarettes, cars, aerial vehicles, knitwear, diamonds, iron rolls, etc.
Union of Informed Citizens