Skopje, 28th June 2013 (MIA) – In the first quarter in 2013, in conditions when the European economy experienced recession and a negative growth rate of 1.2%, Macedonian economy realized a positive GDP growth rate of 2.9%. It is the fourth best performance in Europe. Only Latvia, Lithuania and Turkey realized higher GDP growth rate in Q1 2013, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, announced today.
When asked by MP Vladimir Gorcev about the overall performance of the Macedonian economy in 2013, Stavreski reflecting on the European economy.
– Economic surrounding in which we work is still difficult and sensitive, taking into account that, in the first several months in 2013, European economy realized results worse than the expected ones. Recent data show that European economy was in recession in Q1 2013 as well. Germany, as the locomotive of the Eurozone, experienced only 0.1% growth, being lower than the expectations, France, on the other hand, experienced 0.2% decline. Italy, Spain, Greece, they all had negative GDP growth rates, Stavreski underlined.
It is the same case, as he said, with most of the SEE countries, which also showed negative performance, starting with Slovenia, Croatia, even Serbia.
– Hence, we can say that all our major trade partners had a bad start this year. Negative trends in the economy also reflected on the labour market in Europe. Unemployment increased in almost all European countries, in particular in Greece and Spain, where it reached 27%. Budget deficit is higher than 3% in even 11 EU Member States, and indebtedness also enormously surged. It is estimated that debt in Greece will be 175% of GDP in 2013, 131% in Italy, 101% in Belgium, 96% in Britain, … Stavreski said.
According to him, positive GDP growth of 2.9% in the Macedonian economy is a good performance, and it even exceeds the government projections, since it was realized in conditions when the European economy showed no good results.
– This gives us faith and encourages us that we can expect for a sound performance to be achieved in the rest of the year as well. Projections are based on growth of the industry, construction, agriculture, increase of capital investments in the budget and foreign direct investments, Stavreski pointed out.
He said that construction sector in Q1 2013 was the main generator of growth in Macedonia with 36%.
– There is large amount of funds for capital investments appropriated in the budget and their realization is on good track. We can expect for the budget to continue to strongly support the growth of the Macedonian economy through capital investments, Stavreski said.
According to him, second important factor to have a positive influence on the economy in Macedonia and the liquidity in the business sector is the regular payment of budget liabilities towards the business sector.
– As we promised in September last year, all arrears towards the business entities were settled, regardless of whether they were on the basis of invoices or VAT refund. It was a large financial injection, liquidity to the business sector which helped the Macedonian companies to be able to operate in relatively more relaxed conditions in the first several month of the year. I promise further regular payment of budget commitments will continue contribute significantly to maintaining the positive economic results, Stavreski said, reflecting to the payment of subsidies to farmers is done on regular basis and swiftly.
He believes it can be expected Macedonia to keep the positive economic results in the coming period as well. – In my opinion, we will finish this year with at least 2% GDP growth, which, under the present conditions in Europe, is certainly a sound performance. It is, of course, not an optimal result, since Macedonia would like and could achieve much higher growth rates. However, it is what we need, as well as a bit improved situation in the European economy. Expectations are that somewhere at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2013, trends will stabilize, Stavreski said.
He mentioned part of the foreign investments in Macedonia, which contributed to job creation, such as “Johnson Matthey”, “Johnsons Controls”, also reflecting on the new employments in Kavadarci, Negotino and the Tikves region. He also announced there would be new investments by the end of this year.