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Serbia’s surge: Foreign direct investment soars in 2023

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In 2023, Serbia experienced a notable surge in foreign direct investment (FDI), marking a significant uptick from the previous year. According to data from the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), FDI inflows surpassed 4.5 billion euros, representing an increase of approximately 100 million euros compared to 2022.

The European Union (EU) emerged as a primary source of investment, contributing nearly half of the total FDI in 2023, amounting to around 2.2 billion euros. This reflects a considerable rise from the previous year’s EU investments, which stood at approximately 1.4 billion euros.

Contrastingly, FDI from the EU was notably lower in the preceding year, registering a decrease of around 800 million euros, with a total value of about 1.4 billion euros.

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China retained its status as a key investor in Serbia, maintaining consistent FDI levels of about 1.4 billion euros in both 2022 and 2023.

Among individual countries, the Netherlands emerged as an unexpected contributor, with FDI inflows soaring from slightly over 148 million euros in 2022 to more than 738 million euros in 2023, marking a substantial increase of 590 million euros.

Other notable contributors included Great Britain, with investments totaling 383 million euros, although down from around 330 million euros in 2022. Austria followed closely with 308 million euros, showing a notable increase from the previous year’s 245 million euros. Germany, historically a significant investor in Serbia, witnessed a decrease in FDI to approximately 179 million euros in 2023, down from 282 million euros in 2022.

Russia also saw a notable decline in FDI, dropping from 464 million euros in 2022 to slightly over 162 million euros in 2023.

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In terms of sectors, manufacturing attracted the highest FDI, totaling just under 1.2 billion euros in 2023. Within manufacturing, the production of rubber and plastic products led the way, attracting 476 million euros, followed by the production of motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers, which garnered 288 million euros.

Construction emerged as the second most attractive sector for FDI, totaling 853 million euros, while mining followed closely with around 705 million euros.

Wholesale and retail trade, along with the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, secured 396 million euros in FDI, placing it fourth. Professional, scientific, innovative, and technical activities rounded out the top five sectors, attracting 362 million euros in FDI.

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