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Serbia Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewSerbia has a transitional economy largely dominated by market forces, but the state sector remains significant in certain areas. 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 worse off than it was in 1990. In 2015, Serbia’s GDP was 27.5% below where it was in 1989.

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, and as of March 2017, Serbia had opened eight negotiating chapters. 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 maintains a three-year Stand-by Arrangement with the IMF worth approximately $1.3 billion that is scheduled to end in February 2018. The government has shown progress implementing economic reforms, such as fiscal consolidation, privatization, and reducing public spending.

High unemployment and stagnant household incomes are ongoing political and economic problems. Serbia is slowly implementing structural economic reforms needed to ensure the country's long-term prosperity. In 2016, Serbia reduced its budget deficit to 1.4% of GDP and its public debt to 71% of GDP, in 2017. Public debt had more than doubled between 2008 and 2015. Serbia's concerns about inflation and exchange-rate stability preclude the use of expansionary monetary policy.

Major economic challenges ahead include: high unemployment rates and the need for private sector job creation; structural reforms of state-owned companies; strategic public sector reforms; and the need for new foreign direct investment. 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 the economic reforms it is undergoing as part of its EU accession process and IMF agreement, 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$106.6 billion (2017 est.)
$103.5 billion (2016 est.)
$100.7 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$39.37 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3% (2017 est.)
2.8% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$15,200 (2017 est.)
$14,700 (2016 est.)
$14,200 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving14.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
14% of GDP (2016 est.)
14.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 78.2%
government consumption: 10.1%
investment in fixed capital: 18.4%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 49.4%
imports of goods and services: -56.6% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 9.8%
industry: 41.1%
services: 49.1% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line8.9% (2014 est.)
Labor force2.92 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 17.8%
industry: 25.6%
services: 56.6% (2016 est.)
Unemployment rate16% (2017 est.)
15.9% (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 43.2%
male: 40.1%
female: 48.2% (2015 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index38.7 (2014 est.)
28.2 (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $16.25 billion
expenditures: $16.93 billion
note: this is the consolidated budget, including both central government and local goverment budgets (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues41.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt71% of GDP (2017 est.)
74% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.4% (2017 est.)
1.1% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate4% (31 December 2016)
7.5% (12 March 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate7.6% (31 December 2017 est.)
8.45% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$6.161 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.189 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$21.27 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$18.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$22.51 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$20.22 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$5.064 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.841 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.525 billion (31 December 2014 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 rate3.3% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.586 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.516 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$14.69 billion (2017 est.)
$13.99 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesautomobiles, iron and steel, rubber, clothes, wheat, fruit and vegetables, nonferrous metals, electric appliances, metal products, weapons and ammunition
Exports - partnersItaly 14.6%, Germany 13.1%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 8.3%, Romania 5.7%, Russia 5.4% (2016)
Imports$19.24 billion (2017 est.)
$17.99 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, fuels and lubricants, manufactured goods, chemicals, food and live animals, raw materials
Imports - partnersGermany 12.9%, Italy 10.4%, China 8.4%, Russia 7.9%, Hungary 4.6%, Poland 4.4% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$10.79 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$30.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$30.38 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$41.52 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$11.95 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesSerbian dinars (RSD) per US dollar -
112.4 (2017 est.)
111.278 (2016 est.)
111.278 (2015 est.)
108.811 (2014 est.)
88.405 (2013 est.)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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