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Serbia achieves milestones in economic stability and growth: Insights from IMF mission review

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, SiniĊĦa Mali, has announced that one of the most significant achievements of the recently concluded IMF Mission to Serbia is the consensus reached on changing the methodology for calculating gas prices for the economy, effective from May 1st. This adjustment is expected to lead to a reduction in costs for this energy source, thereby stimulating the creation of additional job opportunities.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to fostering growth, with the aim of instilling pride among Serbian citizens for our nation,” stated Mali, as relayed by the ministry. Mali underscored, in the context of the third review of the precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), that Serbia has managed to uphold macroeconomic stability despite facing various challenges.

The discussions between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation and the Republic of Serbia have concluded, as announced by the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), reaffirming robust macroeconomic performance within the program, characterized by disinflation, record-high foreign exchange reserves, and a resilient labor market.

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The talks extensively covered topics such as economic recovery, solid fiscal management, and the successful attainment of all quantitative targets set for the end of 2023, indicating satisfactory progress in implementing structural reforms. These discussions were held within the framework of the third review of the agreed economic program under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) inked in December 2022.

Through various meetings, participants examined macroeconomic trends, assessed economic outlooks and risks, and addressed key issues related to program implementation. The NBS further highlights that Serbia’s macroeconomic performance in 2023 surpassed expectations, despite facing numerous challenges from the global and regional environments, with foreign exchange reserves now exceeding 25 billion euros.

The nation has upheld financial stability, witnessed a decline in inflation aided by appropriate monetary policies, and attracted record levels of foreign direct investment, as evidenced by the meeting’s conclusions. Notably, exports of goods and services have shown resilience despite subdued external demand, with the current account deficit at its lowest level to date, standing at 2.6 percent of gross domestic product. Meanwhile, the fiscal deficit has been reduced to 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, with public debt as a percentage of GDP below 53 percent.

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