Serbia "formally out of recession," says ministry

BELGRADE -- GDP and industrial production growth have been reported in the first quarter of this year, "which means the Serbian economy is officially out of recession."

"According to the Statistical Office, in the first quarter of this year industrial production began to recover and grew by 5.2 percent. It also contributed to a moderate GDP growth of 1.9 percent," the Ministry of Finance and Economy said in a statement.

It also stressed that the Serbian economy thus "formally emerged from recession which lasted the whole previous year, when all four quarters saw decline in GDP."

"Production in the first quarter nearly tripled in the automotive industry and high growth was achieved in the production of petroleum, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, tobacco industry, textile industry and furniture," the statement said.

The ministry points out that in the first quarter of this year, Serbian exports grew by 22 percent compared to the same period last year.

"At the same time, imports virtually stagnated, leading to a falling trade deficit for the quarter," the statement said.

According to the ministry, exports in March reached a "historic record" value of EUR 857 million on a monthly basis.

"This year Serbia has finally begun to base its export on final products with a high degree of added value, rather than on raw materials and semi-products of a low level of profitability," the ministry said.

According to this, export of cars and car components, electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, non-ferrous metals and metal products were major contributors.

The ministry announced that in order to achieve further recovery the Action Plan Reindustrialization of Serbia would be adopted by the end of this month, "which will elaborate operational measures for stimulating the economy, exports and employment."