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Serbia’s industrial production skyrockets amidst Eurozone downturn

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While industrial production in the Eurozone and the European Union experienced significant declines in January, Serbia saw a remarkable surge of 6.9 percent, marking its highest growth rate in the last three decades, according to Eurostat data.

The impressive growth in Serbia’s industrial sector is attributed primarily to the manufacturing industry, which recorded a remarkable 6.7 percent increase, alongside a substantial rise of 11.7 percent in the electricity and gas supply sector.

Economy Minister Slobodan Cvetković credits the growth to effective governmental measures and policies aimed at domestic and foreign investors. He emphasizes that despite the challenging international economic landscape, Serbia’s economy has shown resilience, with industrial production steadily increasing since July of the previous year, culminating in a three percent growth by January.

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Almost all sectors within the manufacturing industry demonstrated notable performance, particularly in the production of computers, various means of transport, non-metallic mineral products, and paper. Sectors such as textiles, clothing, leather goods, beverages, tobacco, and food products also experienced significant growth.

Nemanja Mitrović, general manager of “Almeks,” highlights their substantial investment in a plant for the production of modified starches for industrial purposes, which amounts to over three million euros. Mitrović notes that their investment has enabled them to meet the increased demand for starches, with a considerable portion of their production being exported.

Despite these advancements, concerns have been raised regarding the low level of investment in research and development (R&D) by domestic companies, which currently stands at only 0.8 percent of GDP. General Manager of Bambi, Dragan Stajković, emphasizes the importance of investing in R&D to foster innovation and enhance competitiveness in the global market.

Minister Cvetković acknowledges the significance of science and technology parks in facilitating knowledge transfer and fostering innovation within the economy. He highlights ongoing initiatives, such as the Bio-4 campus, aimed at supporting new innovations and creating additional value for the Serbian economy.

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While Serbia’s industrial growth is commendable, experts caution against overreliance on the processing industry. They advocate for diversification into sectors that generate high added value to sustain long-term economic growth, asserting that Serbia has the potential to achieve annual growth rates of five percent or more by focusing on such sectors.

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