FinMin: EC forecast similar to those of government and other institutions

Photo /Vijesti/2019/02 Veljača/7 veljače/Maric.jpg

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Thursday that the latest European Commission projection of Croatian economic growth for this year was similar to the forecasts by the government and leading domestic and international institutions.

The European Commission on Thursday revised down its growth forecast for the Croatian economy for this year, from 2.8 percent to 2.7 percent, expecting a slowdown in exports growth due to the weakening of EU economies, Croatia's most important trading partners.

"The European Commission's projections are similar to ours, as well as to those of all leading domestic and international institutions that make growth projections. ... All these projections range between 2.5 and 3.0 percent," Maric said in response to questions from the press after a cabinet meeting.

Maric said that the Commission's projections were slightly lower, not just for Croatia, but for all European Union member states, than those published last autumn. He noted that the forecast for Croatia was revised down by a marginal 0.1 percentage point, while the forecast for the EU was revised from 2.0 to 1.5 percent and that for the euro area from 1.9 to 1.3 percent.

"These downward revisions for the EU as a whole and for Croatia's main trading partners explain why the projections for Croatia were revised insignificantly, from 2.8 to 2.7 percent," the minister said.

He said that the Commission's report noted that the government's tax measures would have a positive effect and would further boost private consumption and service exports.

The Commission said that in view of the anticipated slowdown in Croatia’s main trading partners in the EU, goods exports were likely to grow more slowly than in recent years, while service exports were expected to continue performing well on account of an increasingly extended tourist season and sizeable investment in higher-end hotels in recent years.

Asked how the situation in main trading partners, such as Germany and Italy, would affect Croatia, Maric said he did not like discussing other economies, but added that the situation was being monitored and analysed.

"We are an integral part of the single market and any developments that occur in any of the member states, particularly in those that are closer to us, not just geographically but economically as well, are being monitored," Maric said.

Speaking of Italy and its importance for the Croatian economy, Maric said that each economic sector should be viewed separately, starting from tourism. He said that although Italians are among the most numerous tourists who visit Croatia, in recent years increases in their number did not follow those from Scandinavia, the UK, Far East and US or from Germany and Austria as the leading source countries. "We don't expect any significant disturbances in that regard," he said.

Text: Hina