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Croatia Country Report - February, 2016

  • March 2016
  • -
  • Emerging Markets Direct Media Holdings
  • -
  • 45 pages

This report reviews key macroeconomic data and microeconomic developments for Croatia published between February 6 and March 4, 2016.

The Croatian finance minister said he he expects the country's economy to expand by around 2% this year, but warned about the negative risks stemming from the external environment, such as the slowdown in the Chinese and American economies, possible increase of interest rates in the United States and low oil prices.

Croatia's economy expanded by a real 1.9% y/y in the fourth quarter of 2015, registering the fifth consecutive quarter of growth, and by 1.6% y/y in 2015 as a whole, following a 0.4% y/y contraction in 2014, the statistics office confirmed at the beginning of March.

However, an IMF mission, which visited the country in February, stressed the Adriatic country needs to quickly implement structural reforms to sustain growth.

The report also gives details about new investments in tourism, a key sector of the economy, and the government's plans to build a new coal-fired unit at the existing Plomin thermal power plant.

It also provides details about the performance of the Croatian banking sector following the government's decision to adopt legislation on the conversion of loans denominated in Swiss francs into euros, with the costs being borne by the banks.





Key Points:



o Croatia's consumer prices fell 0.8% y/y in January, slightly narrowing from the 0.6% decline in the previous month. Croatia's industrial sales inched up 0.3% y/y in December, cooling from a 15.8% annual hike in the previous month.

o The unemployment increased to 18.5% in January from 17.9% in the previous month. The average net monthly wage rose 1.6% in December, accelerating from a 4.9% hike in November.

o Last year's trade gap widened 1.3% y/y as exports rose at a faster pace than imports.

Table Of Contents

Croatia Country Report - February, 2016
Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY5

MACROECONOMIC OVERVIEW6

IMF calls for speedy implementation of structural reforms in Croatia6

Croatia's finance ministry expects 2% growth in 20166

REAL SECTOR7

1. GDP, Inflation7

Croatia's GDP growth confirmed at 1.6% y/y in 20157

Croatia's consumer prices fall 0.8% y/y in January8

Croatia's economic sentiment worsens in February9

Decline in Croatian producer prices eases in January9

Croatia's agricultural producer prices decline 0.4% y/y in 201510

2. Industry and Trade10

Croatia's retail sales growth accelerates to 4.8% y/y in December - detailed data10

Croatia's industrial sales growth slows in December11

3. Labour Market11

Croatia's unemployment rate rises to 18.5% in January11

Croatia's average net monthly salary rises by real 1.6% y/y in December12

4. Tourism12

Tourist arrivals to Croatia rise 9.3% y/y in 201512

Two investors mull EUR200mn investments in Croatian tourism13

Croatia's tourist sector to benefit as plans to film Star Wars in Dubrovnik confirmed13

FISCAL SECTOR, MONETARY POLICY14

Croatia sells EUR200mn worth of kuna, yields drop14

Croatia targets budget deficit of 2.2% of GDP in 201615

Croatian central bank accepts all bids in weekly reverse repo auction15

Croatia's budget expenditure projected at EUR15.7bn in 2016, finance minister says16

Croatia's 2015 central government deficit drops 41% y/y16

Croatian central bank accepts all bids in first structural reverse repo auction17

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIATION18

Croatian Agency for Deposit Insurance and Bank Resolution sues Slovenian Cimos over EUR20.2mn debt from 1990s18

Share of bad loans in Croatian banking sector declines to 16.56% at end-201519

Croatian banking sector posts EUR1.47bn pre-tax loss in 201520

Croatian insurers' premium income down 0.8% y/y in January21

Erste bounces back with EUR968mn net profit for 201521

Value of new contracts signed by Croatia's leasing firms up 1% in 201523

Veneto Banca seeks buyers for its subsidiaries in Romania, Moldova, Albania and Croatia24

Croatian mandatory pension funds' assets up 8% y/y in January24

EXTERNAL SECTOR25

Croatia's trade gap widens 1.3% y/y in 201525

Croatia's gross foreign debt falls 0.2% m/m in November25

Croatian central bank's foreign reserves up 17% y/y to EUR13.5bn at end-January26

STRUCTURAL REFORMS26

US strongly supports Croatia's LNG import terminal project26

New Croatian government may scrap plans for Plomin-C power plant27

EIB provides EUR339mn financing for Croatia's KRK LNG import terminal project28

Reshuffle among Adriatic oil and gas explorers29

Croatia has made limited progress in addressing EC's recommendations, report shows31

Croatia's INA cons net loss narrows 25% in 201532

Central European dealmaking withstands turbulence33

POLITICS36

CEE most exposed to potential Schengen suspension suggests analysis36

Honeymoon over for Croatia's new government37

Western Balkans, Austria take tougher line on migration39

Croatia to use army for border security41

Direct economic consequences of Brexit likely to be minor in CEE42

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