European Western Balkans
Economy & Business

NIN’s economic strength index – Serbian performance the weakest in the region

BELGRADE – The insistence of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, and the Minister of Finance Dušan Vujović, on remarkable economic performance, steady growth, and financial stability of Serbia notwithstanding, the recent NIN’s economic strength index, calculated on the basis of ten different economic parameters, shows that Romania, with a score of 8.25 (to reach a score of 10, one should be better than the rest in all ten categories), is economically stronger than Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The parameters took into account are GDP growth in the first half of 2017, GDP per capita, average net monthly income for the first six months, real wage growth, total price growth between June last year and the current year, unemployment rate, share of investment in GDP, public and external debt and balance of payments in GDP.

Although Romania has ranked well, with the highest real wage and GDP growth, the lowest unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, and the lowest external debt, Croatia is designated as a country in the region with the highest gross domestic product per capita in dollars (12,863) and the highest average net monthly income in euros (793).

On the other hand, the unemployment rate in Croatia has reached 13.5 percent, a score even higher than the of Serbia at 11.8 percent. In addition, Croatia has been faced with the highest public and external debt of 81.9 and 87 percent, respectively.

Despite the allegations made by State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy, Milun Trivunac, that, by the end of July, Serbia had attracted “more investments than all the countries of the Western Balkans together“, the data provided by NIN show that Serbia, with a share of investment in GDP of only 18.5 percent, has placed itself along with Bosnia and Herzegovina at the bottom of the chart, whereas Macedonia has taken a lead in the category, reaching a score of 33.7 percent.

However, Macedonia’s general performance is very poor, as it has the lowest average monthly earning of 368 euros, an amount just slightly smaller than the one in Serbia in the first half of the year (382 euros). In addition, it has been faced with a negative GDP growth of 0.9 percent and a substantial unemployment rate of 22.6 percent.

The champion of unemployment in the region is Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a rate of nearly 40 percent. It has also, along with Albania (with the difference of only 20 dollars), proved to be the weakest in the category of GDP per capita, with 4,540 dollars. In addition, BiH and Albania were ranked similarly in the category of average net income, with a monthly average of 433 and 423 euros, respectively.

Still, as opposed to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its striking unemployment rate, Albania’s score could be referred to as the region’s average. With an unemployment rate being at 13.9 percent, Albania’s standing is slightly worse than the of Serbia (11.8 percent) and better than the of Montenegro (16.3 percent).

After a short-lived shift at the bottom, Serbia is again the worst ranked country, NIN reports.

According to the authors, Serbia’s index is indeed slightly better than the of the previous year (4.25 as opposed to 4.00), yet the other countries have made more progress in the meantime. With nearly the lowest average net earning in the region and a sluggish real wage and GDP growth of about 1 percent, there is still a long way to go before Serbia reaches the results it has aspired.

”Without a faster growth of GDP and productivity, there may hardly be a significant increase in wages and standards, which would be sustainable in the medium and long-term,“ NIN writes.

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