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Serbia’s top economist predicts that the country’s GDP will stagnate next year, in contrast to more upbeat forecasts.
Goran Nikolic, economist from the New Policy Center, said that the assumption of another think tank, the Serbian Institute for Society Research, that GDP in Serbia will grow 1.5 per cent in 2012 is too optimistic.
“Since 2008 around 200,000 people lost their job, total earnings dropped by 2 per cent, which all together decreased purchase power, therefore we should be happy if we stick to 0 per cent GDP next year,” said Nikolić.
The latest survey of Statistical Office of Republic of Serbia shows that the average salary for October 2011 was approximately 380 euro, which is 2 per cent lower than in September last year.
According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s recent “Report about Transition”, consumption of staple foods in Serbia was down by 46 per cent in the crisis, which was the biggest fall in the survey of 29 countries in transition.
Nikolić thinks that the ERDB survey is unrealistic as it is based on perceptions, which are usually overly pessimistic.
“The survey itself has only a little significance for the economy because it is a simple questionnaire,” he said. “The latest economic data showed that the living standard is 5 to 10 per cent lower than in 2008.”
“A standards drop of more than 40 per cent is unreal, even in the worst period of the 90s during the Milošević rule, the numbers were higher. If this data is true, it would surely destroy Serbia’s economy”, concluded Nikolić.
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