According to the ASNS (Association of Free and Independent Trade Unions), in 2021, the Serbian economy will face serious problems starting in January, when job subsidies and the moratorium on loan payment will end.
Serbia has a population of 6,926,705. According to the State Bureau of Statistics, 51,753 children were born and 86,978 people died in September this year, so Serbia’s population decreased by 18,500 compared to 2019 and by 240,000 compared to 2012, the ASNS document states.
“This year started with an atypically high GDP growth of 5.1% which promised spectacular economic growth with all the positive consequences that came with it, but the sudden outbreak of COVID has led to a sharp drop in GDP of 6.4%,” the document shows.
In the third quarter, with the easing of measures, there was a partial recovery of the economy and growth of 1.4%.
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Despite wide fluctuations and a decline in the second quarter of 6.5%, in the period from January to October, industrial production increased by 0.3%. This stabilization was decisively influenced by the production of electricity and growth in the processing industry of 4.1% in September.
In external trade, the decline was $28 billion or 7.8%.
“Approximately $12 billion worth of goods were exported less (down 8.4%) and $16.1 billion worth of goods were imported less (down 7.4%). The balance of payments deficit is $1.7 billion, or down $300 million, which is 15.4 percent below the 2019 payments deficit,” the ASNS analysis shows.
Passenger traffic is down 31% and the number of passengers declined by 42%. Rail traffic decreased by 46%, road traffic by 3.1%, and air traffic by 60%.
The total net influx of foreign investments was 2.3 billion euro. The foreign direct investment amounted to 1.7 billion euro and the influx on the basis of investments made by non-residents in Serbia amounted to 1.8 billion euro. Foreign investments decreased significantly, on average by 34%. Only portfolio investments increased and amounted to 1.3 billion euro.
NBS’s foreign currency reserves decreased by 325 million euro while the commercial banks’ foreign currency reserves increased by 500 million euros.
This year, inflation stood at 1.8%. The average salary increased nominally by 9.4% and in real terms by 7.7%, and amounted to 82,515 dinars in September 2020, or 59,698 dinars after taxes and contributions. The median salary, which is the best indicator of the real salaries received by workers, is 13,881 dinars lower than the average salary (23%) and amounted to 45,817 dinars.
“Forecasts of economic trends in 2021 depend mainly on how well the epidemic will be controlled and managed until mass vaccination and immunization of the population, which, in all likelihood, will not happen in Serbia in 2021,” the analysis states.
Economic normalization will be possible, at best, only at the end of 2021, with the first effects visible only in 2022.
This post is also available in: Italiano