International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Dinar, Hard Currency savings higher in 2020

January 20, 2021

The public in Serbia has been putting more money into their savings accounts during the pandemic than they did before, Belgrade daily Politika said on Wednesday.

It cited National Bank of Serbia (NBS) figures which showed that savings in Dinars reached 93 billion Dinars at the end of 2020 and were 13.4 billion Dinars or 16.9 percent higher than at the end of 2019. Savings in hard currency totale 11.433 billion Euro and was 629.2 billion Euro or 5.8 percent higher than a year earlier.

Politika quoted sources in the NBS who said that Dinar savings rose dynamically over the past year to reach the highest level to date, reflecting public trust in domestic banks. They said that the NBS does not have data on the number of individuals with Dinar savings only of the number of accounts which stood at 1.09 million at the end of November or 63,000 more than a year earlier. The sources said that 86.6 percent of those savings accounts have up to 10,000 Dinars in them accounting for just 0.7 percent of the total value of the deposits while accounts with one to five million Dinars in them account for 39.5 percent of the total value and accounts with more than five million Dinars makeup just 0.3 percent of the total number of accounts. The number of accounts with more than five million Dinars in them was 456 higher than a year earlier.

Politika said that hard currency savings were mainly in accounts with up to 500 Euro in them (80 percent of the total number of savings accounts) accounting for just 0.9 percent of the total value of those savings. It said that 46.7 percent of hard currency savings (totaling 5.268 billion Euro) are in accounts with between 10,000 and 50,000 Euro in them but that those accounts are just 5.1 percent of the total number of accounts. Deposits of more than 100,000 Euro at the end of November 2020 accounted for 17.5 percent of total savings (1.971 billion Euro) in 8,736 bank accounts.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/dinar-hard-currency-savings-higher-in-2020/

Serbian Minister says future lies in greater energy efficiency

January 19, 2021

Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said on Tuesday that Serbia’s energy future lies in greater energy efficiency, medium and large hydro-powered and gas powered electricity plants.

A ministry press release quoted her as saying that small hydro-power plants should be built only in places where that is an acceptable solution. That type of power plant has drawn fierce opposition in a number of places across Serbia where local streams and rivers were redirected.

Speaking about coal-powered plants, Mihajlovic said that those plants and coal mines would not be shut down leaving people out of jobs even though European countries are gradually reducing their coal-fueled power production.

Mihajlovic announced the formation of an energy efficiency department funded from the budget as well as from European funds and international partners. “We want to support households by funding the replacement of windows and doors, solve the issue of individual heating facilities which are among the worst polluters and we will see some effects in three years at least,” she said.

The minister said that the main goal of the changes to the law on mining and geology research is to bring more income to the state and attract quality

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-minister-says-future-lies-in-greater-energy-efficency/

Vojvodina provincial body secures more than 3 billion Dinars for projects

January 15, 2021

The Vojvodina Capital Investments Authority has invited applications for financing of projects in several fields after securing 3.27 billion Dinars for them, the Beta news agency said.

A statement said that the invitations are for financing and co-financing of projects in traffic infrastructure, water protection, and supply, local and regional economic development, elementary education, and sports. A total of 2.1 billion Dinars will be allocated for local authorities to improve traffic infrastructure, 497 million for the development of sports, and 73.8 million for the construction and restoration of elementary public schools. Water supply and wastewater treatment projects will be financed with 402 million Dinars.

The Authority also secured 193 million Dinars to support local and regional economic development to create better business conditions for small and medium companies and to raise employment levels.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vojvodina-provincial-body-secures-more-than-3-billion-dinars-for-projects/

Montenegro forms new national air company

January 15, 2021

Montenegrin Government said on Friday it decided to form a new national air company after it landed the planes of the former flag carrier Montenegro Airlines (MA) last December due to debts it could not service following abolishing the state subsidies.

The Government added it allocated four million Euro founding capital and adopted the new company’s statute.

Podgorica Vijesti daily said the new company could be formed by the end of February, while the first flights were expected in six to nine months.

The Government also decided to keep MA alive with minimum flights to avoid losing licences.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/montenegro-forms-new-national-air-company/

NBS: Serbia’s gross foreign exchange reserves € 13.5 billion

January 13, 2021

The preliminary data showed the gross foreign exchange reserves of the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) amounted to 13.5 billion Euro at the end of December, the central bank said, adding that in 2020, to maintain relative stability in the foreign exchange market, it sold 1.45 billion euros net.

At the end of December, foreign exchange reserves after deduction of banks’ foreign exchange reserves based on required reserves and other bases, amounted to 11.1 billion Euro.

The increase in December was realized in an environment in which the state further reduced its foreign currency liabilities based on loans and securities, which contributed to lowering Serbia’s public debt, the statement said.

It was mainly due to inflows from the privatization of Komercijalna Banka of 395 million Euro and the activities of the NBS through the net purchase of foreign exchange on the domestic foreign exchange market.

In December, as in 2020, the Dinar’s value against the Euro was almost unchanged, NBS said, adding it bought 170 million Euro net on the interbank foreign exchange market at the end of the year.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/nbs-serbias-gross-foreign-exchange-reserves-e-13-5-billion/

More than 400,000 companies registered in Serbia

January 12, 2021

Serbia started this year with more than 400,000 registered companies and entrepreneurs, the Business Registers Agency said on Tuesday.

According to that Agency (APR), there are 121,690 registered companies and 278,956 entrepreneurs which is 9,879 more than in 2019. A press release said that 9,176 companies and 29,810 entrepreneurs were registered in 2020 which is 19 percent more companies and 25 percent more entrepreneurs than a year earlier.

Most of the newly registered companies were involved in wholesale trade, computer programming, construction, consulting and management as well as freight transport, postal and Internet retail, engineering and real estate rentals.

Most entrepreneurs registered restaurants, business consulting and management, hairdressers and beauty salons, road transport, vehicle maintenance, and technical advising.

A total of 7,982 companies and 22,052 entrepreneurs were deleted from the business registry in 2020, including 5,797 companies and 5,868 entrepreneurs whose bank accounts were frozen for more than two years.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/more-than-400000-companies-registered-in-serbia/

Report warns Serbia has no plastic waste management system

January 12, 2021

The State Audit Institution (DRI) warned on Monday that Serbia does not have a plastic waste management system.

The DRI report on plastic waste management said that the country produced 897,000 tons of plastic waste between 2017 and 2019 and that there was no system to collect that waste and recycle it. It said that just two percent of plastic waste or 14,000 tons is being recycled leaving the country without the benefits of a circular approach to the problem and causing environmental harm.

The report said that Serbia had aligned its regulations on waste management with the European Union acquis but had not created the mechanisms to implement them. It warned that the national plan on waste management for the 2015-19 period had not been adopted and that no reliable data on communal waste management is available.

The DRI said that the Environmental Protection Ministry failed to inspect packaging waste management facilities which led it to make several recommendations to the ministry.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/report-warns-serbia-has-no-plastic-waste-management-system/

IMF projects Serbia’s GDP growth by five pct this year

January 8, 2021

Due to the pandemic, Serbia’s real GDP growth is projected to contract by 1.5 percent in 2020 before rebounding to five percent in 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its press release on Friday.

It attributed the projection to the economic activity picking up in the third quarter of 2020 following the sharp contraction during the previous quarter.

„Policy measures—including monetary policy support and a large fiscal package worth about nine percent of GDP—have played an important role in supporting the economy. The recent acceleration in infection rates in Serbia and its major trading partners could negatively impact the nascent recovery and a stronger-than-expected infection wave presents a clear downside risk to the outlook,“ the IMF press release said.

It added that „the quantitative targets for end-September 2020 were met and sufficient progress was made in meeting the structural reform targets. Inflation remains close to the lower limit of the National Bank of Serbia’s inflation band.“

„The fiscal deficit in 2021 is planned at three percent of GDP and would help ensure that public debt in percent of GDP resumes a declining path, while also creating enough space to support the recovery, including through higher public investments. Within this envelope, increases in public sector wages should be limited and pension increases are expected to follow the agreed Swiss formula. The unwinding of support measures could be made more gradual if further shocks materialize,“ The IMF said.

It added that “going forward, it will be important for Serbia to build on its achievements under the current program by continuing to pursue structural and institutional reforms that will deliver faster convergence of incomes with European Union’s countries. Medium-term priorities include capital market development and improving governance, including strengthening the rule of law.“

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/imf-projects-serbias-gdp-growth-by-five-pct-this-year/

Bosnia had 413,254 unemployed at the end of November 2020

January 7, 2021

Bosnia's Labour and Employment Agency said Thursday that the country had 413,254 unemployed individuals on November 30, 2020.

Compared to October last year, the country's unemployment rate was 0.28 percent (or 1,148 persons) lower, the Agency said, adding that 57.02 percent of the total number, or 235,633 individuals, are women.

Compared to the same period of 2019, BIH's unemployment rate rose by 11,895 individuals or 2.96 persons.

The Agency said the rise in unemployment was caused by the decreased economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic and that 10,366 people have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

When it comes to entity data, the Agency said the country's Federation entity decreased its unemployment by 0.18 percent, or 588 persons compared to the previous month, the Republika Srpska entity decreased its unemployment by 535 persons, or 0.64, and the Brcko District by 25 persons, or 0,35 percent.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-had-413254-unemployed-at-the-end-of-november-2020/

World Bank forecasts 2.8% growth for Bosnia in 2021

January 7, 2021

Bosnia and Herzegovina's GDP should increase by 2.8 percent in 2021 if the coronavirus pandemic is put under control and if economic activities recover, according to the World Bank's latest report.

The data published in ‘Global Economic Prospects 2021‘ show that the growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to be lower by 0.8 percent compared to the forecast presented in June last year, when the World Bank projected 3.4 percent growth for the country in 2021-

The new forecast comes after the GDP drop in 2020 by four percent.

According to the World Bank, the country's real growth in 2022 could reach 3.5 percent.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Western Balkans, will according to the World Bank forecast achieve the GDP provided that the Covid-19 pandemic is put under control and political instabilities are reduced.

The World Bank also finds the recovery in the European Union important for the recovery of the Western Balkan region.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/world-bank-forecasts-2-8-growth-for-bosnia-in-2021/

World Bank revises projection for Serbia

January 5, 2021

The World Bank revised its projection of growth for Serbia's GDP in 2021 to 3.1 percent, the bank said in its Global Economic Prospects report.

THe Serbian government projected a growth of six percent for this year when it drafted the 2021 budget which was adopted by parliament on December 10, double what the World Bank projected. The new World Bank projection is 0.9 percent lower than its projection in June.

The World Bank also said that Serbia will see its GDP drop by two percent in 2020 which is half a percent better than the projection in June which stood at 2.5 percent of the GDP.

The Global Economic Prospects report said that Serbia’s economy would continue to grow this year and continue into 2022 when it is projected to reach the level of 3.4 percent.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/world-bank-revises-projection-for-serbia/

Serbia’s National Bank governor: Our public debt is below 60 percent of the GDP

January 3, 2020

The governor of the National Bank of Serbia, Jorgovanka Tabakovic, said that Serbia’s public debt is between 56.7 and 57.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, and assessed that this debt is "safe below 60 percent".

She told Serbia’s public broadcaster, RTS, that one of the expensive Azerbaijani debts, with an interest rate of four percent, had been repaid, and that the current debt was below the so-called „Maastricht criteria“ of 60 percent.

Tabakovic added that throughout the previous year, the dinar exchange rate against the euro was maintained in the range between 117.5 to 117.6, which the National Bank invested 1,450 billion euros into.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-national-bank-governor-our-public-debt-is-below-60-percent-of-the-gdp/

Minister: Fast railway to Novi Sad should be operational by the end of the year

January 2, 2021

Serbia’s Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Tomislav Momirovic, said that he is convinced that the fast railway to Novi Sad will be ready by the end of the year.

He said he is sure that people will be able to travel from Belgrade to Novi Sad within half an hour soon.

He explained the trains on the railway will move at a speed of 200 km / h but that it cannot be expected to be operational as soon as the works are completed. It will probably take about two months after the works are finished to conduct all the necessary tests, he added.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/minister-fast-railway-to-novi-sad-should-be-operational-by-the-end-of-the-year/

Government increases holdings in Air Serbia

December 30, 2020

Air Serbia said on Wednesday that the government had increased its holdings in the national air carrier, reducing Etihad Airways’ share to 18 percent.

A press release said that the government recapitalized Air Serbia to increase its holding from 51 to 82 percent, adding that the recapitalization was part of efforts to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and was launched at the company’s request.

„We are grateful to the Government of the Republic of Serbia for providing support to the national airline to overcome business obstacles caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the most difficult year in the history of passenger air traffic,“ it quoted Air Serbia CEO Duncan Naysmith as saying, adding that “the foundations have been created for further uninterrupted business and that, with fundamental measures to rationalize the company’s operations, which are already well underway, Air Serbia will be able to overcome difficulties, strengthen its position as a leader in the region and continue to provide direct and an indirect contribution to the Serbian economy, primarily transport and tourism“.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/government-increases-holdings-in-air-serbia/

Montenegrin Govt. shutting down national flag carrier; President: reckless move

December 24, 2020

The Montenegrin Government said on Thursday it was shutting down the 'Montenegro Airlines' company, landing all planes and founding a new company, adding it had no legal basis to extend the company's existence Podgorica Vijest daily reported.

"We cannot make any legal decision to help Montenegro Airlines," Minister of Capital Investments Mladen Bojanic said.

He added the plan was to form a new company with the founding capital of the Government.

A new company will be operational until the next tourist season, Bojanic said.

He estimated the budget cost due to the shutdown would amount to 50 million Euro, and that the employees would receive everything that legally belonged to them.

Later on Thursday, Montenegro's President Milo Djukanovic, said the decision was reckless.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a687299/Montenegrin-Government-shuts-down-national-flag-carrier.html

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