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Albania Country Report - April, 2014

  • May 2014
  • -
  • Emerging Markets Direct Media Holdings
  • -
  • 18 pages

This report covers the main macroeconomic releases from April 8 to May 7 2014 as well as the financial and political events that took place in Albania during this period.



A few months after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to provide Albania with a EUR 331mn credit to support the authorities' reform programme, the fund released a new forecast in April confirming expectations that the country's economic growth should speed up to 2.1% in 2014 form 0.7% in 2013. The growth is expected to further strengthen to 3.3% in 2015. The IMF's 2014 GDP projection is in line with the forecasts of the Albanian government and the World Bank.



In the meantime, Standard & Poor's affirmed Albania's B/B long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings and revised the outlook to stable from negative citing reduced financing pressure. The revision of the outlook reflects S&P's view that the recently signed agreement with the IMF will serve as a policy anchor for fiscal consolidation and support the sustainability of Albania's high government debt.



According to the latest data from the finance ministry, Albania's general government debt, including state guarantees, increased by 1.4% on the quarter to ALL 897.8bn (EUR 6.41bn) at end-March 2014 equalling to 64.4% of the projected full-year GDP.



Key Points



o Albania's economy expanded by 1.1% year on year in non-adjusted terms in the fourth quarter of 2013, improving from a 2.5% annual contraction in the previous quarter. The seasonally-adjusted figures showed a 2.3% quarter on quarter increase in Q4, following a 2.1% quarter on quarter drop in Q3



o Consumer prices in the country grew by 2.2% year on year in March, quickening from a 1.9% rise in the previous month with the overall trend again determined by food prices.

Table Of Contents

Albania Country Report - April, 2014
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY4

MACROECONOMIC OVERVIEW5

IMF keeps Albania's 2014 GDP growth estimate at 2.1%5

SandP affirms Albania's B/B ratings, revises up outlook to stable on reduced financing pressure.5

DandB rates Albania as moderately risky with deteriorating trend6

Albania plans to tap foreign markets with Eurobond issue in 2015.7

Yields ease on Albania's 2-year bonds on weak demand.7

REAL SECTOR8

1.GDP8

Albania's economy expands 1.1% y/y in Q4 2013..8

2.Inflation9

CPI inflation speeds up to 2.2% y/y in March 2014.9

3.Industry and trade10

Albania's economic sentiment indicator improves in Q1 2014.10

FISCAL SECTOR12

General budget deficit narrows 56.9% y/y in Q1 201412

Public debt rises 1.4% q/q in Q1 2014.13

FINANCIAL SECTOR13

Bank assets growth eases to 4.8% y/y at end-March 2014.13

Bank lending drops 2.1% y/y in March.14

Insurers' premiums rise 26.5% in Q1 201414

EXTERNAL SECTOR16

Balance of payments16

Foreign trade trade deficit widens 8.4% y/y in Q116

PRIVATISATION AND INDUSTRY NEWS17

Albania grants construction permit for TAP project.18

POLITICS18

EU sees cooperation between Albanian govt and opposition key for candidate status.18



Table 1 GDP9

Table 2 Budget balance12

Table 3 Bank assets14

Table 4 Insurance premiums15

Table 5 Foreign trade17



Figure 1 Yields on 2-year bonds7

Figure 2 CPI9

Figure 3 Bank loans14

Figure 4 Foreign trade16


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