IMF: Serbia’s GDP grew by 2.5% in 2016

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed on Tuesday its 2.5 pct GDP growth forecast for Serbia in 2016, as announced during a June visit to Belgrade by the IMF Mission.

At the annual IMF-World Bank autumn meetings in Washington, the IMF released its latest global economic forecast – the World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The 2017 GDP growth forecast for Serbia has been revised by 0.4 pct to 2.8 pct.

In the previous edition of the WEO, released last April, Serbia’s 2017 GDP growth rate had been forecast at 2.3 pct.

The IMF also said Serbia’s unemployment rate would be at 18.6 pct in 2016 and 18.7 pct in 2017.

“We now expect real GDP growth of 2.5 percent in 2016, and inflation of 1.3 percent,” IMF Mission Chief for Serbia James Roaf told a press conference after the conclusion of the Mission’s visit to Belgrade for discussions on the fourth and fifth reviews under Serbia’s precautionary stand-by arrangement with the IMF. 

“Strong performance under Serbia’s economic program continues. Economic growth is strengthening, supported by robust investment and rising net exports. Inflation has remained low and stable but below target, on account of lower-than-expected imported prices and food prices,” Roaf said. 

“The external current account deficit is declining amid robust exports,” he also said. 

The IMF mission, led by Roaf, started talks with the Serbian government representatives on June 9, focusing on the budget and reforms of the public sector and public companies, the fulfillment of obligations envisaged under the 2016 first quarter program, and economic policy measures for the upcoming period. 

 In February 2015, the IMF and Serbia signed a three-year precautionary stand-by arrangement, worth EUR 1.2 billion. 

The previous three arrangement revisions were positive, while the fourth was carried out in February 2016, ahead of a snap parliamentary election, with the IMF mission deciding to finalize it after the formation of a new cabinet.

(Blic, B92, 04.10.2016)

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