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Balkans: EU, region GDP accelerates to 3.5% in Q1

Growth pick-up driven by Serbia, largest economy in the area

20 July, 14:54
(ANSA) - BELGRADE - The economies in the Western Balkans region accelerated their growth in the first quarter of 2018, according to the report 'EU Candidate Countries' & Potential Candidates' Economic Quarterly', produced by the European Commission and published on Wednesday.

"Growth dynamics improved in almost all countries of the Western Balkans in the first quarter of 2018, the Commission said. The report specifies as well that "the growth pick-up was driven by Serbia, the largest economy in the region." According to the 'Economic Quarterly', Serbia recorded the strongest acceleration of annual GDP growth, to 4.6% from 2.4% in the previous quarter. The main driver was the "robust domestic demand." In Montenegro and Albania the output growth strengthened to 4.5% and 4.4% respectively, thanks to surge of investments and domestic demand, while in Kosovo the GDP growth accelerated to 3.5%, in particular due to investments and government consumption, and in Bosnia to 2.0%, driven by exports and private consumption.

Only in Macedonia the output growth slowed to 0.1% from 1.2% in the previous quarter.

The Commission said that the economic recovery in the region contributed to job creation and to the decline of the unemployment, but the labour market conditions are still challenging, with the unemployment rate at 13% in Albania, 14.8% in Serbia, 16.5% in Montenegro, 26.5% in Kosovo. No unemployment data for Bosnia and Herzegovina are available. (ANSA).

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