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Armenian Premier Predicts Recovery By Year's End

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian
YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian says his country's economic "recovery cycle" will start at the end of the year, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Sarkisian said during a visit to the southeastern Vayots Dzor region that improvement by January is the government's "tentative forecast."

Armenia has been severely crippled by the global economic crisis, and Yerevan received more than $1 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and Russia earlier this year.

The country's economy had shrunk by 16.3 percent in six months, however.

Sarkisian warned last month that the country's full-year contraction could hit 20 percent.

The former head of the Armenian Central Bank, Bagrat Asatrian, says the country won't see economic growth until 2011.

He told RFE/RL that he is "of the opinion that although the first half ended with a decline of 16.3 percent, the rate of contraction will be lower, roughly 12-13 percent, by the end of the year."