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Armenia Reports Mounting Economic Growth

A meat market in the Armenian capital, Yerevan
A meat market in the Armenian capital, Yerevan
YEREVAN -- Armenia's economic recovery accelerated in February, with Gross Domestic Product increasing 3.1 percent year-on-year for the first two months of this year, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

That is up from 2.4 percent in January, as registered by the National Statistical Service (NSS) in January.

The modest growth comes on the heels of a 14.4 percent contraction through 2009, one of its region's hardest-hit economies.

The Armenian government and Western lending institutions forecast late last year that the economy would expand by 1.2 percent in 2010. International Monetary Fund officials revised their forecast upward last month.

The question of whether or not Armenia is emerging from its most serious economic downturn since the early 1990s is a matter of serious contention in the country's political arena, and even within the governing coalition.

Trade and Economy Minister Nerses Yeritsian declared late last month that the economic crisis is over. The claim was publicly challenged not only by opposition leaders, but also by Gagik Tsarukian, an influential businessman whose Prosperous Armenia Party controls three ministerial portfolios.