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TBILISI, May 28 (Reuters) - Armenia's economy expanded 7.1% in the first quarter from a year earlier, preliminary official data showed on Tuesday, helped by strong growth in the mining and hospitality sectors.
The country of 3.2 million people depends heavily on aid and investment from former imperial master Russia, whose economic downturn has hit Armenian exports in recent years, as well as remittances from Armenians working in Russia.
Armenia's economic growth slowed to 5.2% last year, from 7.5% in 2017.
The government expects a further slowdown to 4.9% growth in 2019. However, first-quarter growth was almost as fast as the economy's 7.2% expansion in January-March last year.
The IMF, which forecasts 4.6% growth for Armenia this year, approved a $248.2 million three-year stand-by precautionary arrangement for the country last week to support structural reforms and improve the business environment.
Armenian authorities do not intend to draw the funds unless shocks generate balance of payments needs. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Susan Fenton)