Insisting on quarterly data on Serbia’s GDP growth could be political propaganda

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Giving great importance to quarterly data on gross domestic product (GDP) growth, or concluding that they are important for the economy in the long run, is unprofessional and belongs to the domain of political propaganda, said Dejan Soskic, professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade and former governor of the National Bank of Serbia.
He said in an interview for the Nova.rs portal that, in the case of Serbia, that means nothing but that the economy is recovering after the pandemic.
According to him, the rates of economic growth measured by the movement of GDP should be observed in a longer period of time, in order to be able to draw more correct conclusions about the dynamics of economic activity in a country.
“In these measurements, a lot depends on what the situation was like last year at the same time. Since last year in the second quarter there was a significant decline in economic activity due to the pandemic, it is natural to expect that the quarterly data on GDP growth today, due to the lower base from last year, will show higher growth,” said Soskic.
Commenting on the allegations of politicians about the economic success of Serbia, Soskic said that it is one of the most underdeveloped countries in Europe, along with neighbors from the Western Balkans and Moldova, and that today it is “already far behind Bulgaria and Romania”, which have traditionally been approximately the same level or worse than Serbia.
“Besides, in the last ten years, Serbia is by far the most stagnant economy in the group of about twenty similar European countries, especially from 2012 to 2016. In the following 2017, we had a slightly higher growth rate, and in the next two years we achieved solid, but insufficient, about four percent growth per year,” said Soskic.
He added that a recently published study created within the project of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts showed that Serbia has lower rates of economic growth due to “corruption and a general weak institutional environment, but also due to lagging behind in the field of education.”
“They also concluded that even in two solid years, we continued to lag behind the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The World Bank predicted an average economic growth rate of six percent per year for Serbia as an opportunity to gradually, in a few decades, catch up with more developed countries on our continent,” said the former central bank governor, Danas reports.