Balkan Economies Expected to Contract in Pandemic, IMF warns

The "World Economic Outlook", the latest report of the IMF about the global economic situation, predicts sharp contractions in most Balkan economies as a result of the pandemic in line with the severe downturn expected in the rest of the European and world economies.

Estimating a global economic contraction of about 3 per cent in 2020, it warns that the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will be far more damaging than the economic global crisis in 2008-2009. It says the global economy should grow by about 5.8 per cent in 2021, however, as economic activity resumes once again. 

In Southeast Europe, it expects economies to contract by between 3 and 10 per cent. Turning to Moldova, it says the economy there will likely contract by 3 per cent in 2020 and grow by about 4.1 per cent in 2010. It forecasts that inflation in Moldova will run at about 0.5 per cent in 2020, rising to 6 per cent in 2021. 

Projections for neighbouring countries are more pessimistic. GDP in Romania will likely fall by 5 per cent in 2020, the IMF says, before growing by 3.8 per cent in 2021. In Ukraine, it expects GDP to fall by 7.7 per cent in 2020 and grow by 3.6 per cent in 2021.

In the Western Balkans, the IMF experts GDP in Serbia to decrease by 3 per cent in 2020 and grow by 7.6 per cent in 2021. In tourist-dependent Croatia, the prediction is worse. The IMF expects a contraction of 9 per cent in the Croatian economy in 2020 and 4.9 per cent growth in 2021. Much the same fall is expected in Montenegro, though growth there in 2021 is estimated at 6.5 per cent. 

The IMF expects the economy in Kosovo to fall by 5 per cent in 2020 and grow by 7.5 per cent in 2021. In North Macedonia, the forecast is a 4-per-cent decrease in 2020 and growth of 7 per cent in...

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