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The EBRD has revised upwards Bosnia’s 2013 GDP growth forecast to 0.6% in the January edition of its Regional Economic Prospects report from 0.4% in the previous such report issued in October 2012. Nevertheless, this year the country will record the worst performance in the SEE region, which is expected to expand by 1.5%.
On the positive side, funding withdrawal by European banks vis-a-vis Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe (CESEE) slowed down in the third quarter of 2012 most likely reflecting improved financing conditions for parent banking groups, according to a report released by the Vienna 2 Initiative Steering Committee. The Committee urged for more to be done to tackle the issue of rising non-performing loans in order to avoid prolonged credit stagnation in the region.
Bosnian PM Vjekoslav Bevanda met in Sarajevo with World Bank economist Abebe Adugna on Jan 30, in order to continue discussions on the country’s development policy loan (DPL) programme with the global lender. The World Bank approved the first DPL to Bosnia worth USD 100mn in 2010, while the remaining two are envisaged for 2012 and 2013. The loan is expected to spur the much needed structural reforms.
On the economic front, consumer prices in the country grew by 2.1% on average in 2012, down from a 3.7% growth in 2011, while the industrial production shrank 5.2% last year after rising 5.6% in 2011, as all three main sectors entered the negative territory.
Bosnia’s jobless rate edged up to 44.4% at the end of November 2012 from 44.3% a month earlier, according to the country’s labour and employment agency.
The country’s 2012 foreign trade gap widened 1.3% y/y to EUR 3.78bn as exports declined more than two times faster than imports.
Bosnia’s commercial bank assets rose 2% y/y to EUR 11.4bn at end-Dec. Domestic loans, which represent the majority of bank assets (71%), increased 4.1% y/y in Dec to EUR 8.2bn while Bosnia’s bank deposits went up by an annual 2.6% to EUR 6.8bn.
According to our calculations, both the average lending and deposit growth in 2012 slowed down markedly compared to 2011, to 4.9% and 2.6% respectively.
The gross foreign reserves managed by Bosnia’s central bank inched 1.3% y/y to EUR 3.3bn (25.2% of full-year projected GDP) at end-Dec.
End-2012’s net foreign reserves (at EUR 3.32bn)of Bosnia’s central bank continued to fully cover its monetary liabilities, thus guaranteeing the stability of the currency board arrangement. The level of this coverage was 108.7% at end-December, up compared to the like period in 2011 (108.6%).
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