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EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele expressed his disappointment with the lack of any progress on Bosnia’s EU agenda. He warned the time has come for the alarm to ring for Bosnia because the political elite’s continuous lack of shared vision on the country’s direction is threatening to leave it in regional and international isolation.
On a more positive note, the President of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat Federation, Zivko Budimir, who was released from custody late on May 24, is due to return to his duties and sign a decree on the recently adopted privilege pensions law without which Bosnia cannot access its IMF funding.
On the economic front, consumer prices in the country eased to 0.4% y/y in April from 0.6% a month earlier due to falling transport, clothing and footwear and health prices.
The industrial output expanded 10.3% y/y in April, quickening from a 7.6% y/y rise the month before, supported by still strong manufacturing and utilities output.
Bosnia’s jobless rate stood at 46.1% at end-Q1, above its end-2012 level (44.5%), according to the country’s labour and employment agency.
The foreign trade gap narrowed 14% y/y to EUR 1bn in January-April 2013, due to a strong exports increase and a mild imports decline.
Bosnia lured EUR 37mn worth of FDI in the first quarter of the year compared with a negative inflow of BAM 5mn a year earlier, the country’s Directorate for Economic Planning (DEP) reported.
Bosnia’s non-performing loans increased to 13.8% of total loans in the first quarter of 2013 from 12.1% a year earlier, central bank data showed.
Bosnia’s commercial bank assets rose 3.2% y/y to a total of EUR 11.4bn at end-April, easing from a 3.9% annual growth the month before. Domestic loans, which represent the majority of bank assets, increased 3.6% y/y to EUR 8.2bn at end-April, the same as the previous month. So far in 2013, Bosnia’s loan growth has been largely driven by corporate lending (mainly long-term loans in local currency). Commercial bank deposits increased 4.7% y/y to EUR 6.9bn at end-April, slowing from the 5.6% y/y rise the month before.
The gross foreign reserves managed by Bosnia’s central bank rose 7.5% y/y to EUR 3.3bn at end-April, quickening from a 3.5% increase the month before.
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