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Macedonia in Focus

By Siniša Jakov Marušić (BIRN) Skopje – MACEDONIA – Macedonia’s economy has shown its first signs of recovery after the prolonged political crisis that ended last year, according to figures from the Central Bank and State Statistical Office.

Photo: MIA through BIRN

With a sharp rise in foreign investments and significant increase in exports in the first quarter of 2018, the Macedonian economy has shown its first signs of recovery after the prolonged political crisis, which ended in mid-2017, nearly brought progress to a halt.

The total value of foreign direct investment in the first four months of this year amounted to 233.3 million euros, more than double to the 111.4 million euro figure from the same period last year, according to the latest data from the Central Bank published this month.

This is also more than the 229.1 million euros of foreign moey that the country managed to attract during the whole of 2017, a year marred by political turbulence which culminated in the bloody storming of the parliament building on April 27.

Data published by the State Statistical Office on Monday also showed a 14.3 per cent rise in country’s exports in the first quarter of this year. During this period Macedonia exported goods worth 1.77 billion euros, some 220 million euros more than the same period last year.

Imports also marked an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to the first quarter or 2017, amounting to a total of 2.4 billion euros. This means that exports in the period January-April 2018 represented 73.7 per cent of the value of imports.

The initial positive trends made the Macedonian government optimistic that it will achieve its goal of 3.2 per cent GDP growth by the end of this year and 5 per cent by the end of 2020.

Macedonian Youth conference (Photo courtesy of UNMDG)

Macedonian Youth conference (Photo courtesy of UNMDG)

“Transparent policies reflected in the Law on Financial Support for Investments [adopted in the autumn], changes to the Energy Law, and other measures… to support the economy, are slowly being recognised by domestic and foreign investors and are yielding results,” Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy Koco Angjusev told a parliamentary question-and-answer session on Monday.

The country ended last year with growth of zero per cent.

The country was prevented from going into recession by a slight positive upturn in the fourth quarter, attributed to the political stabilisation in the second half of the year when a new government was finally elected.

Historically speaking, Macedonia marked its biggest GDP growth from 2004 to 2008, with the peak year being 2007 with growth of 6.5 per cent.

The country ended 2009, the year of the world economic crisis, with a minus 0.4 per cent growth, the second worst figure after 2012, when it marked minus 0.5 per cent.

The new government hopes that the possible success of the ongoing efforts to end the long-running ‘name’ dispute with neighbouring Greece, which will in turn unlock the country’s EU and NATO accession bids, will further entice investors and boost overall growth. (Source BIRN)


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