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Home/News/Serbia, IMF begin review of advisory and monitoring arrangement

Serbia, IMF begin review of advisory and monitoring arrangement

An International Monetary Fund mission began 10 days of talks with Serbian officials on Tuesday to review the country’s finances and its progress on a non-financial arrangement with the IMF, the central bank said.

Last December, following its first review of a 30-month advisory arrangement with Belgrade, the Washington-based IMF said Serbia’s economic performance was strong in 2018 and that the government remains committed to progress on reforms in 2019.

Implementation of the program was “broadly on track,” the IMF said.

Serbia needs the so-called Policy Coordination Instrument, tailored for countries that do not require the IMF’s direct financial backing, to give investors greater confidence in putting their money into the Balkan country.

Serbian and IMF officials will focus on “implementation of macroeconomic and structural reforms backed by the PCI.” the central bank said in a statement.

Talks will also focus on Serbia’s prospects for 2019 and 2020, it said.

Serbian economy’s growth in 2018 is forecast at around 4.2 percent. The Statistics Office will announce its flash estimate for the fourth quarter of 2018 on Jan 31. Gross domestic product is expected to grow 3.5 percent in 2019 as low base effects from 2017 and 2018 wane.

Last February, Serbia ended a previous three-year, 1.2 billion-euro ($1.41 billion) loan agreement with the IMF, as part of which the Balkan country cut public-sector wages and pensions to reduce its deficit and debt. It did not draw on any of the funds.

Last October, Belgrade and the IMF agreed a 2019 fiscal deficit target of 0.5 percent of GDP. Serbia ended 2018 with a small surplus.

Source: Reuters