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Country Forecast Croatia July 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Croatia July 2018 Updater

  • July 2018
  • ID: 1697592

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  • The coalition government, led by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), has the support of several members of parliament from the liberal Croatian People's Party (HNS). The coalition has a narrow majority in parliament, and is unstable, so the risk of a pre-term election is not negligible (the next election is due in 2020).
  • Croatia has poor relations with its former Yugoslav neighbours, Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), Serbia and Slovenia, and this will result in periodic disputes, but not a return to violent conflict.
  • Progress on structural reforms, particularly the reform of the healthcare and pension systems, will remain slow.
  • Croatia's recent success in improving its public finances and achieving a small surplus in 2017 led to its exit from the EU's excessive-deficit procedure. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the budget to return to deficit in our 2018-22 forecast period, but these will remain well below the EU's 3% of GDP ceiling.
  • Public debt will decline to a still high average of about 72.6% of GDP in our forecast period. Large financing needs leave the country vulnerable to a downturn in foreign investor sentiment. However, the government should not face financing problems during the forecast period, despite future monetary policy tightening in the US.
  • After real GDP growth of 2.4% in 2015 (the first positive outturn since 2008) and 3.5% in 2016, growth was at a respectable 2.8% in 2017, and we expect the economy to continue growing by an average of 2.7% per year in 2018-22.
  • Risks to this outlook are to the downside. Failure to pass structural reforms, an economic slowdown in Europe, a poor tourism season or adverse fallout from the restructuring of Agrokor, Croatia's largest private company, could constrain growth.
  • After three consecutive years of deflation, in 2017 the consumer price index rose by 1.1%. In 2018­22, when we forecast higher international oil prices, we expect inflation to average 1.6%.
  • We expect the kuna to appreciate modestly against the euro in 2018-22, owing to the healthy stock of reserves and strong capital inflows.


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