Serbia in talks with IMF for new 1-billion-euro loan
Serbia is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a new precautionary loan agreement worth about 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion), Albert Jaeger, the Washington-based lender’s mission chief, said yesterday. “The hope is to come back around the second half of August and if we can agree on a staff-level agreement there will be time to bring the program to the board in September,” Jaeger said before meeting Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic. “The program will probably start in October.” Serbia’s economy is emerging from a recession with gross domestic product projected to grow about 3 percent this year, according to the central bank. The government turned to the IMF for 3 billion euros of financial assistance in 2008 to keep its economy afloat. The talks on a new loan come a month after Serbia completed the previous bailout program with the lender aimed at helping the Balkan nation offset potential balance-of-payments problems that loomed after investors fled emerging markets during the global financial crisis. “We have growth, but it’s not fast,” Jaeger said. “The composition of growth is better than before the crisis and it is not accompanied by a large external current account gap.” The IMF revised its GDP forecast down to 4.5 percent from 5 percent. In a statement released after meeting with Cvetkovic and his team, the lender said that “Serbia’s economy is slowly getting back on its feet” with 2012 growth expected to accelerate “as key” foreign direct investment “projects come on stream.” More balanced growth was hampered by weak real incomes and “massive labor shedding since the 2008 crisis.” With Cvetkovic’s administration facing elections in less than a year, the IMF expects Serbia to keep its 2011 budget in line as “monthly deficits are relatively high,” Jaeger said. Under current policies, Serbia’s 2012 budget will require some fiscal adjustments and various options are still being discussed, he said. The government sees this year’s fiscal gap below 4.1 percent of economic output. Serbia should keep public wages and pensions in line with indexation rules, and the lender said “the mission saw no scope for additional public wage and pension increases beyond the indexation step envisioned for October.
(Bloomberg) police had previously told protesters the square had to be cleared so that cleaning services could move in to remove debris. Puig say the square was likely to be a meeting place for soccer fans during and after today’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United in London. trial managers more pessimistic about export orders. Most of the eurozone is enjoying modest to strong growth, despite debt crises and recessions in Ireland, Portugal and Greece.