Assessment of Economic and Foreign Trade Movements in 2018
Preliminary estimates of key macroeconomic indicators in 2018 published by the Serbian Statistical Office indicate that positive trends from previous years have continued and accelerated.
Inflation remained low and stable for the fifth consecutive year and, according to preliminary data, it averaged 2.0% y-o-y in 2018.
Annual GDP growth was 4.4%, driven by investment, exports and sustainable rise in final consumption. Total industrial production increased by 2.0%, agricultural production by 16.3% аnd construction also posted a two-digit growth rate. Service sectors recorded excellent results. The tourism turnover rose by 12.3%, catering by 10.1%, transport expanded by 4.9%, while retail trade turnover recorded real growth of 4.5%.
Favourable developments in the real sector continued to reflect positively on the labour market, where employment and wages posted an increase.
As for foreign trade movements, the Statistical Office data state that commodity exports expressed in euros rose by 9.0% and imports by 13.5%. A key contribution to export growth came from manufacturing exports, while higher imports are mostly attributable to increase in the import of investment-related equipment and intermediate goods for the industry. Additionally, movements in the global oil price also reflected on import growth. Although the price of oil recorded a sharp fall at the end of the ongoing year, on average it was around 30% higher in 2018 when compared to the average price in 2017.
The published data confirm that our economy continues to grow owing to the preserved macroeconomic, fiscal and financial stability and the enhanced overall business and investment environment.