Slump Hits Armenia Despite Its Isolation

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Most countries hammered by the financial crisis ran into trouble because their banks crumbled, their exports collapsed or they ran up too much debt. Armenia, a landlocked nation of three million in the Caucasus, has a different problem, The Wall Street Journal reported. Fiscally prudent and too isolated to be hit by early fallout from the crisis, the country is proving there is no haven from the downturn: The economy has been hit hard as Armenians who live abroad send less money home. Now, some expatriates are returning and looking for jobs, presenting new problems for the economy, but also new possibilities. Armenia's banks were too small and local to get caught in the subprime meltdown, and were banned by regulators from making the risky foreign-currency loans that have damaged economies across Eastern Europe. Exports have declined, but they were never a big part of the economy. Read more. (Subscription required.)