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Serbia: Economy#

Serbia has a transitional economy largely dominated by market forces, but the state sector remains significant in certain areas and many institutional reforms are needed. The economy relies on manufacturing and exports, driven largely by foreign investment. MILOSEVIC-era mismanagement of the economy, an extended period of international economic sanctions, civil war, and the damage to Yugoslavia's infrastructure and industry during the NATO airstrikes in 1999 left the economy only half the size it was in 1990.

After former Federal Yugoslav President MILOSEVIC was ousted in September 2000, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition government implemented stabilization measures and embarked on a market reform program. Serbia renewed its membership in the IMF in December 2000 and rejoined the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Serbia has made progress in trade liberalization and enterprise restructuring and privatization, but many large enterprises - including the power utilities, telecommunications company, natural gas company, and others - remain state-owned. Serbia has made some progress towards EU membership, signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Brussels in May 2008, and with full implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement with the EU in February 2010, gained candidate status in March 2012. In January 2014, Serbia's EU accession talks officially opened. Serbia's negotiations with the WTO are advanced, with the country's complete ban on the trade and cultivation of agricultural biotechnology products representing the primary remaining obstacle to accession. Serbia's program with the IMF was frozen in early 2012 because the 2012 budget approved by parliament deviated from the program parameters; the arrangement is now void. In late 2014, Serbia and the IMF announced a tentative plan for a precautionary loan worth approximately $1 billion, but the government will be challenged to implement IMF-mandated reforms that will target social spending and the large public sector.

High unemployment and stagnant household incomes are ongoing political and economic problems. Structural economic reforms needed to ensure the country's long-term prosperity have largely stalled since the onset of the global financial crisis. Growing budget deficits constrain the use of stimulus efforts to revive the economy and contribute to growing concern of a public debt crisis, given that Serbia's total public debt as a share of GDP more than doubled between 2008 and 2014. Serbia's concerns about inflation and exchange-rate stability preclude the use of expansionary monetary policy. During 2014 the SNS party addressed issues with the fiscal deficit, state-owned enterprises, the labor market, construction permits, bankruptcy and privatization, and other areas.

Major challenges ahead include: high unemployment rates and the need for job creation; high government expenditures for salaries, pensions, healthcare, and unemployment benefits; a growing need for new government borrowing; rising public and private foreign debt; attracting new foreign direct investment; and getting the IMF program back on track. Other serious longer-term challenges include an inefficient judicial system, high levels of corruption, and an aging population. Factors favorable to Serbia's economic growth include its strategic location, a relatively inexpensive and skilled labor force, and free trade agreements with the EU, Russia, Turkey, and countries that are members of the Central European Free Trade Agreement.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$101.5 billion (2016 est.)
$98.98 billion (2015 est.)
$98.26 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$37.76 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate2.5% (2016 est.)
0.7% (2015 est.)
-1.8% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$14,200 (2016 est.)
$13,900 (2015 est.)
$13,800 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving14% of GDP (2016 est.)
13% of GDP (2015 est.)
11.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 80.1%
government consumption: 11%
investment in fixed capital: 19.3%
investment in inventories: -3.4%
exports of goods and services: 48.8%
imports of goods and services: -55.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 9.7%
industry: 42.7%
services: 47.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, maize, sunflower, sugar beets, grapes/wine, fruits (raspberries, apples, sour cherries), vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), beef, pork, and meat products, milk and dairy products
Industriesautomobiles, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tires, clothes, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate5% (2016 est.)
Labor force2.91 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 21.9%
industry: 15.6%
services: 62.5% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate18.9% (2016 est.)
19.3% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line9.2% (2013 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index38.7 (2014 est.)
28.2 (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $16.2 billion
expenditures: $17.08 billion

note: this is the consolidated budget, including both central government and local goverment budgets (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues42.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt78.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
77% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued or owned by government entities other than the treasury (for which the Government of Singapore issued guarantees); the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data i
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.1% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate9.5% (18 March 2014)
11.75% (6 February 2013)
Commercial bank prime lending rate8.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
11% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$5.21 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.535 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$18.37 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$18.75 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$20.81 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$19.81 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$7.696 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$8.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$7.451 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Current account balance-$1.596 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.751 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$12.85 billion (2016 est.)
$12.6 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesiron and steel, rubber, clothes, wheat, fruit and vegetables, nonferrous metals, electric appliances, metal products, weapons and ammunition, automobiles
Exports - partnersItaly 16.2%, Germany 12.6%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 8.7%, Romania 5.6%, Russia 5.4% (2015)
Imports$17.37 billion (2016 est.)
$17.03 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, fuels and lubricants, manufactured goods, chemicals, food and live animals, raw materials
Imports - partnersGermany 12.4%, Italy 10.6%, Russia 9.6%, China 8.5%, Hungary 4.8%, Poland 4.2% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$11.64 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$11.35 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$31.64 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$32.44 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$39.34 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$11.95 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesSerbian dinars (RSD) per US dollar -
112.4 (2016 est.)
108.811 (2015 est.)
108.811 (2014 est.)
88.405 (2013 est.)
87.99 (2012 est.)