NEW YORK — Armenia is placed 44th (down from 33rd last year) among 186 countries and is ranked as a “moderately free” country in the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Heritage Foundation. The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship.

Other countries in the region are placed as follows: Georgia 16th, Turkey – 58th, Azerbaijan 67th, Iran – 156th.

Armenia’s partners in the Eurasian Economic Union Russia and Kazakhstan are ranked 107th and 41st respectively, Belarus is 108th, Kyrgyzstan is 78th.

Hong Kong tops the list, followed by Singapore and New Zealand.

“Armenia’s economic freedom score is 68.7, making its economy the 44th freest in the 2018 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 1.6 points, with a sharp decline in fiscal health and lower scores for investment freedom and labor freedom overwhelming modest improvements in judicial effectiveness and monetary freedom. Armenia is ranked 20th among 44 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is slightly below the regional norm but well above the world average,” the report reads.

“Armenia’s geographic isolation, narrow export base, and pervasive monopolies in important business sectors have made it particularly vulnerable to deteriorations in global commodity markets and economic challenges in Russia. Nevertheless, modest diversification has produced greater economic dynamism, and a decade of strong economic growth has reduced poverty and unemployment. Broad simplification of business procedures has facilitated regulatory efficiency. Cronyism and undue influence, despite some progress in tackling corruption, remain concerns,” the report said.

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