Armenia's central bank expects economy to grow 6.9%-7.1% in 2019

YEREVAN, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Armenia’s economy may expand 6.9%-7.1% this year instead of the 4.9% that had been projected initially, supported by growth in manufacturing, construction and services as well as private consumption, a central bank official said on Tuesday.

The ex-Soviet country’s economy expanded 7.2% in the first quarter and 6.5% in the second compared with the same periods last year. In 2018, economic growth was 5.2%.

“Industry and the service sector are the main drivers of the growth ... some positive dynamics also come from the construction sector,” Vahagn Grigoryan, the central bank monetary policy department head, told a news conference.

He said a rise in private consumption and exports also fuelled the growth.

Finance Minister Atom Janjughazyan told Reuters last month that the forecast for growth had been revised upwards to 6.3% in September from an initial projection of 4.9% envisaged by the 2019 state budget.

Grigoryan said the central bank might revise its annual inflation rate forecast in a range of 4% plus/minus 1.5% to 2%, instead of 4% plus/minus 1.5%.

“We don’t try to bring the inflation back to the target 4% fast, we plan to do it in the coming three years,” he said.

The consumer price index rose 0.6% in October month-on-month and was up 0.9% year-on-year.

Grigoryan said the 12 month inflation rate would be around 1.5% in 2019. (Reporting by Nvard Hovhannisyan; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Alison Williams)